Pride month, this year, falls amidst a momentous time in America, amidst an ongoing pandemic and the reigniting of the movement for Black lives. When reflecting on the history of Pride it is noteworthy that the first Pride event was deemed a riot. This is significant because of its parallel to what we are witnessing now. So often change comes about from uprisings; moments when The People assert their voice. The deep anger and pain being felt over the police killings of unarmed Black people is a direct parallel to events that led to the eventual liberation of the LGBTQ+ population. The Black queer (a universal word now positively reclaimed by the Millennials and Generation Z) community and Black transgender women were at the center of the Stonewall Riots in New York in 1969. Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and this year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pride parade which took place a year after the Stonewall Riots.
The term intersectionality was coined by legal professor Kimberlé Crenshaw. This word is now common language when discussing the fight for social justice. Crenshaw explains: “’Intersectionality’ was (originally) a prism to bring to light dynamics within discrimination law that weren’t being appreciated by the courts.” But, in recent years, the term has gone viral and used to explain the way that Americans, specifically, experience the world differently based on our various identities, for example, the experience of Black transgender woman is going to look much different than that of a white transgender woman. CHNW’s commitment to being an inclusive, welcoming, non-judgmental, and non-toxic workplace for its employees – with their varying identities – underlies the mission to support college students and their vast set of experiences. CHNW celebrates the openness of the organization and attributes its success to the many voices who freely engage in making our nonprofit a great place for students to live, a great place to work, and a part of a greater system in which people learn and grow to help make the world a better place for every human being.
On Monday June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of protecting civil rights for gay and transgender workers in the workplace from discrimination. To say this is momentous feels like an understatement. Finally, in the year 2020, Americans cannot be fired from their jobs on the basis of their gender or their sexual orientation. In the midst of a pandemic, in the midst of people rising up to demand an end to violence targeted at Black Americans, this ruling, as delinquent as it is, rings as a bell of hope as, against much opposition, we collectively move toward a world of fair and equal treatment of all human beings.
Pride Month 2020 may be looked back at as a seminal month in United States history, the month that saw the whirlwind of fury and frustration against the interminable forces of no-change, of lethargy challenged, of the sleeping privileged awakened, as the month that saw substantive change, both in the solidarity of the majority and the continuing dismantling of systems of oppression. Pride Month is an important part of bringing awareness to and continuing to create a truly compassionate and equitable country and world.