Honoring the Colorful History of Pride

By Aarushi Pant

Every year, June is a celebrated month for the LGBTQ community worldwide, but this year, it comes at a time of unrest and uncertainty. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage many parts of the globe, the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis has incited national outrage and a push for racial equality and an end to police brutality. Protests and riots still continue in many cities throughout the world, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement has finally garnered the support and momentum that it deserves. As we transition into Pride Month, a month of celebrating our freedoms and our unique identities, it’s important to understand the core values that first shaped this movement into what it is today and recognize the major role that queer black people have played throughout LGBTQ history.

The well-known Stonewall riots of 1969 were started by Marsha P. Johnson, a black transgender woman and a prominent activist for gay rights. People of color have always been, and will continue to be, a crucial part of LGBTQ history. Erasing the contributions that Johnson and countless other queer black advocates made for the LGBTQ community is erasing our history and what Pride Month truly stands for. 

The LGBTQ community would not be what it is today without the hard work and sacrifices of countless black advocates for gay liberation, which is why spectrum stands with the black community. Black lives matter, and it’s impossible to celebrate Pride Month without honoring the contributions that black activists have made and the progress that simply wouldn’t be possible without them. 

We’ve created a toolkit, BLM + pride resources, that we’ll be updating with ways that you can help support the BLM movement specifically in the Houston-area (focusing on helping smaller organizations and supporting local efforts) and specific resources on how you can help support the queer black community (focusing on education and representation). Queer black resistance is the reason that LGBTQ rights are where they are today. We’re failing to fulfill the real meaning of Pride if we don’t recognize and honor their accomplishments and join them in what they’re fighting for today.

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