WHY PRIDE MUST STAND WITH BLACK LIVES MATTER
All of us at LIV are shocked and heartbroken by the tragic and racially motivated deaths that happened now and over the past years. We are in solidarity with our black friends, family members and our community and stand beside the black community in the fight against racism and violence. We know that we will never understand - however, it is extremely important to us to educate ourselves and others.
With June marking Pride month, it is incredibly important for the LGBTQ+ community to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. For all those who think that riots and protests do not lead to anything, here is a short reminder that the very first Pride was exactly that: a riot. And not just that - it was a riot largely led by queer people of colour. The Stonewall Riots against police brutality and gay oppression in 1969 laid the foundation for Pride as we know it today.
In the early hours of June 28, 1969 the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village in New York City. At that time, homosexual acts were illegal in every state except Illinois and police raids in gay bars were nothing unusual. But that particular night, the queer community fought back. Some of the key people involved in this act of resistance were lesbian and trans people of colour: Marsha P. Johnson, Stormé DeLarverie and Sylvia Rivera. It is said that Marsha P. Johnson, a gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen, threw the first bottle at the cops but the exact sequence of who did what first remains unclear.
The subsequent five-day uprisings marked a turning point in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and are one of the main catalysts why we celebrate Pride as we know it today. Stonewall became a symbol for resistance and led to several formations of gay rights organizations. In 2016, Barack Obama declared the Stonewall Inn the first national monument to LGBTQ+ rights.
So if you celebrate Pride this year, remember many of the key people behind these revolutionary riots in 1969 were people of colour. Remember that the progress for LGBTQ+ rights over the past 51 years might not have happen ed if it weren't for these protesters. There can be no Pride if it is not intersectional. You can't refuse to support Black Lives Matter today and celebrate Pride tomorrow.