54 years ago today, on June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Uprising began when LGBTQ+ protesters stood up to police who raided a gay bar in New York City, the Stonewall Inn. The Uprising was a culmination of years of activism and marked a turning point in the LGBTQ+ movement. On the one-year anniversary of the Uprising, June 28, 1970, thousands of activists and community members gathered and marched in America’s first gay pride parade.
While we celebrate the LGBTQ+ community during Pride month, we must also acknowledge that the violence and prejudice that LGBTQ+ community members were subjected to during the Stonewall Uprising, still, horrifically, happens today. Now, more than ever, advocating and standing with the LGBTQ+ community remains critical, as states increasingly propound measures of oppression and intimidation. In this year alone, states have introduced 491 bills specifically targeting LGBTQ+ rights, some of which are already law. We also recognize that the transgender and gender nonconforming community is increasingly targeted by these bills, some of which seek to remove gender-affirming care, prohibit access to public restrooms, or restrict access to sports. States have even required universities to turn over the private health information of their trans students and ordered investigations into families of trans youth. These bills continue to endanger our LGBTQ+ communities.
We honor the courageous activists, and especially the trans women of color, who face heightened, pervasive discrimination and nevertheless continue the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. Two such activists, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, were true trailblazers. Both were at the Stonewall Uprising and spearheaded a collective, STAR, that provided assistance and shelter to the transgender community after growing tired of the exclusion of trans people and people of color in the LGBTQ+ movement. Johnson and Rivera founded the first LGBTQ+ youth shelter in the country and were the first trans women of color to lead any organization in the country. Their legacy lives on today.
HSPRD remains committed to fighting for the rights and dignity of all LGBTQ+ people. While we recognize there is still much work left to do, we are proud to have worked with our LGBTQ+ clients to fight discrimination in the workplace, in education, in healthcare, and in other realms of public and private life. To support these efforts, in conjunction with Pride Month this year, HSPRD attorneys and staff are engaging in expert-led, community-led training on promoting and fostering LGBTQ+ inclusion and allyship. We support our LGBTQ+ community’s right to live with dignity and pride.