By Marleny Huerta-Apanco

          LGBTQ is an acronym meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning. The term sometimes is extended to LGBTQIA, to include intersex and asexual groups. Queer is an umbrella term for non-straight people; intersex refers to those whose sex is not clearly defined because of genetic, hormonal or biological differences; and asexual describes those who don’t experience sexual attraction. Because June is Pride Month, we at Between Us wanted to talk about an important milestone for the LGBTQIA movement and bring awareness to the role of intersectionality. We encourage those who want to learn more to connect with the resources at the end of this article. 

          When we talk about LGBTQIA milestones, we must acknowledge the pivotal role that Black Transgender individuals had in propelling the social movement in the 1960s that has garnered numerous progress for the LGBTQIA community. Though important milestones occurred prior to 1969 such as the creation of the society for human rights in 1924. The Stonewall Riots, also called the Stonewall Uprising, is a starting point for us this month especially as we’d like to be in solidarity and sensitive to the fight for justice and equity being sought for those in our Black community. 

          The Stonewall Uprising began in the early hours of June 28, 1969 when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village in New York City. It was known in the area for being friendly towards drag queens, homeless youth and BIPOCs (Black Indeginous People of Color) despite questionable conditions as result of inadequate funding. While not a perfect place to enjoy leisure time, people could be themselves at Stonewall Inn. Discrimination and harassment of police was constant prior to June 28th though the sudden raid sparked a riot among bar patrons and neighborhood residents as police roughly hauled employees and patrons out of the bar. Police sought those who were suspected of cross dressing and brought them to the bathrooms to check their genitals to determine if they were violating the state’s gender appropriating statue. All of this together led to six days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement outside the bar on Christopher Street, in neighboring streets and in nearby Christopher Park. Many in the LGBTQIA community credit Marsha P. Johsnon, a Black transgender activist as the first to throw a brick or shot glass that started the riots. The Stonewall Riots served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.

          As we highlight this important part of LGBTQIA history, we want to offer the space to elevate the voices of those within this community that make it vibrant and intersectional and are often subject to unjust treatment at greater rates than non-black LGBTQIA members.

Because if you strip away the sparkles and the rainbows, the LGBTQ rights movement is about fighting, with everything you have in your body, for humanity. And right now Black humans need us to step up and speak out.”- Zara Barrie

Additional resources:

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/: Crisis intervention and suicide prevention work for LGBTQ youth.

https://www.glaad.org/: With a national focus on leading conversations about equality for the LGBTQ community and informing the media narrative, this organization works with news and entertainment media of all formats and communications and digital strategy outlets to ensure the public is provided with powerful stories about the LGBTQ community that advocates for greater equality.

https://www.hrc.org/ Human Rights Campaign is the largest organization fighting for the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. The organization currently has over 1.5 million members, all focused on making true equality for all possible. The organization has a number of research publications outlining equality indexes on areas such as healthcare, employers, states and corporations.

https://www.finimpact.com/support-lgbtq-owned-small-businesses/ Ways/tips to support and help LGBTQ-owned small businesses

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