This year's observance allows us to celebrate, but it also charges us to pause, reflect and take a stand. Recently, LGBTQ political representation has increased in local, state, and federal governments.
We understand that the fights for LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights, and racial justice are linked.
Despite the strides made toward equality in the more than 50 years since the 1969 Stonewall Riots, LGBTQ people — especially those who are transgender, people of color, or both — continue to be denied access to basic needs such as housing, health care, and employment.
Last year, in 2020, states considered almost 40 pieces of anti-trans legislation.
So far this year, over 100 pieces of anti-trans legislation have been considered. While the trans community has seen some early wins by the Biden Administration, there is still a long road ahead.
Last year at this time, we marked that Pride was born out of resistance and protest, recounting the history of the Stonewall Uprising.
This year, let’s begin our recognition of Pride month with a theme of “Pride Rising.” Planned Parenthood recognizes the power of resistance in fight for LGBTQ over the years. Resistence to homophobia and transphobia, intuitionalized oppression and societal exclusion, and to the poisonous effects these have had on LGBTQ individuals, families and communities. Resistance is what makes Pride possible.
Year after year, Pride “rises up” as a celebration of LGBTQ resilience and a political declaration that LGBTQ people are worthy of equal rights. As Pride celebrations have grown across the nation and across the world, celebrations have increasingly made space to acknowledge and commemorate the contributions of Black, Indigenous and People of Color. This includes Marsha P. Johnson and Storme DeLaverie, who were key in the Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969.
Throughout the 1950s and 60s, LGBTQ people had the courage to stand up to police in the Stonewall Uprising and in similar uprisings of that time period.
During the 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan would not even utter the word “AIDS” and refused any government help, let alone acknowledgment, towards those suffering from the HIV epidemic, the LGBTQ community drew upon its reserves of resilience and courage in order to take care of one another.
Through the 1990s and 2000s when states across the nation passed “defense of marriage acts,” making same sex marriage illegal, LGBTQ people sought creative ways to legally enmesh their families and held marriage ceremonies with their partners despite their unions not being legally recognized. (Gay marriage bans were ruled unconstitutional in 2015’s Obergefell v Hodges).
And the young people affected by the anti-trans legislation passed this year, who will not be able to continue their hormone care, who will not be allowed to participate in school sports and, in some cases, will not even be allowed to use the restroom at their school, will be expected to practice resilience.
Our society has come to expect LGBTQ people, especially minor youth, to undergo repeated mental, emotional and even physical trauma, and to come out the other side “resilient.” Popular culture tells them, “It gets better.” And then, for a month during Pride, the ones who survive such conditions are praised for their resilience. They are called “brave.”
In order for Pride to rise year after year, resilience is only part of the equation.
Resistance is what brings justice, which LGBTQ people of all genders and sexual orientations deserve, and resistance is what makes the celebration of Pride possible.
But in order to get beyond “resilience,” the cruel barriers of systemic discrimination and societal prejudice must be removed. The work of resistance must be done. The people who work to remove these barriers are known as allies to the LGBTQ community.
Instead of praising LGBTQ people for being “brave” or “resilient,” all of society – including government, organizations, and individuals - should strive to make a better world for LGBTQ people through allyship. We should do some allied work each day to create a world in which such resilience is unnecessary. We should resist homophobia and transphobia in the voting booth, home and workplace.
Planned Parenthood has committed to allyship work. To commemorate Pride, the organization has pledged to amplify commitments to education, health care, and advocacy for the LGBTQ community. Planned Parenthood remains committed to expanding reproductive health care access for LGBTQ patients, including gender-affirming hormone care.
The expansion of gender affirming hormone care, and the award-winning LGBTQ-centric In•Clued sex ed programs, are some concrete examples of improvement.
Currently, work is being done to expand gender affirming care to telehealth in Eastern states when it launches in the fall.
Throughout Pride month, and throughout the year, Planned Parenthood will continue the mission of providing competent, caring, inclusive health care services and advocacy. The organization’s ultimate goal is to provide top-quality care where all patients can focus on receiving care, and need never practice resilience.
To support Planned Parenthood’s LGBTQ allyship work, please donate here.