51 years ago, the historic Stonewall Riots unfolded after police raided a gay bar in New York City. For several days, members of the LGBTQIA+ community gathered to protest a lifetime of injustice, discrimination and violence, galvanizing activism that continues today. Although there has been vast progress since then, much work remains in achieving true liberation for the LGBTQIA+ community.
The recent, heartbreaking deaths of Layleen Polanco, Tony McDade, and Oluwatoyin Salau have shed light on the continued perpetuation of violence against Black trans people. As current protests are voicing, it is imperative to elevate the fact that LGBTQIA+ people, especially those of color, are overrepresented and mistreated at every stage of the criminal justice system.
Structural circumstances like homelessness, mental health issues, and a lack of supportive resources disproportionately lead LGBTQIA+ people on a path to incarceration. Due to profiling from police, and the discriminatory enforcement of laws, LGBTQIA+ people are more likely to experience police contact. Once behind bars, many endure harassment and violence solely because of their identities. Upon release, reentry is especially challenging for people in the LGBTQIA+ community. Having a conviction history adds another layer of discrimination in areas such as finding housing and employment after incarceration.
This Pride Month, we recognize the challenges ahead, and stand in solidarity with protestors who are demanding solutions and proudly declaring #BlackTransLivesMatter. We are celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community in its full diversity, and finding hope in the progress that has been made towards liberation.
The movement for LGBTQIA+ liberation is growing more diverse and inclusive, and it is promising that protests around the country have centered the experiences of Black trans people. The recent Supreme Court decision declaring that the Civil Rights Act protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is also a historic victory that sets an important foundation for equality in the workplace.
This weekend marks the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and 50th anniversary of the NYC Pride March. If you’re looking for ways to celebrate, we’ve compiled virtual opportunities and events in our CARE Guide. We hope you’ll take part in these opportunities and join communities around the world in celebrating, learning, and standing in community with LGBTQIA+ people everywhere.