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Table of Diversity Weekly: June is Pride Month

Image of the word Pride in rainbow print
Image of the word Pride in rainbow print

June is Pride Month! The Stonewall Uprising is one of the most influential civil rights moments and there's no one historical accounting of what happened. There's no one consistent record of the who, the what, and the when. However, the New York Public Library compiled articles, diary entries, interviews, book excerpts, and more from people who were part of the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement before, during, and after Stonewall. This anthology of perspectives , titled The Stonewall Reader, is one of my favorite things to revisit every year. To hear about the movement through first hand accounts takes us back in time to understand the language, societal norms, and struggles of the LGBTQ+ community at that time. If you're looking for a good book to read, add this one to your list!

I was digging in the Decide Diversity archives and remembered the conversation I had with the leaders of Pandora Productions. Pandora Productions is the only theatre company out of Louisville, and most of Kentucky exclusively dedicated to telling the stories of the LGBTQ+ community. Monthly subscribers can check out this conversation!

Another legacy I revisit every year is that of Pauli Murray! Pauli is the person behind so many of the legal victories associated with the civil rights movement. Pauli is this week's Person in History that you need to know.

While there is no singular theme for Pride Month, here are a few themes from across the US.

  • Capital Pride (Washington D.C.). "During the 1980s and 1990s, the LGBTQ+ community, initially referred to as the 'GLB' community, realized that the only way to have a meaningful presence in society, a full seat at the table, was to demand and work towards total acceptance of our families and our rights as citizens of the United States. The fight for complete and total legal recognition of our partners, the right to serve openly in the rmed forces, the right to marry, and the right to honest expression of gender identity all came to a head in the 1990s and set the stage for the changes that happened in the 21st century. From pink triangles to Freedom Rings; from KD Lang to RuPaul; from 'REal World' and 'In the House' to "Fame' and 'Pairs is Burning'; and from 'Ellen' to 'Will & Grace', we shaped the current LGBTQ+ movement. Our community showed up, spoke up, ACTed UP and created a TOTALLY RADICAL new America." Learn More

  • San Francisco Pride. "San Francisco Pride is proud to announce BEACON OF LOVE as the theme for the 54th annual San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade and Celebration. The theme designer Nicole Bloss suggested to San Francisco Pride is 'Beacon of Love' and her graphic design presents the iconic pink triangle atop Twin Peaks, with the silhouete of Sutro Tower standing against a rainbow which transitions from the original Pride colors to the Progress colors, a unique and innovative design solution. Originally a badge of shame sewn onto uniforms of homosexuals imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps, the pink triangle was gradually reclaimed by LGBY activists in the 1970s and 80s. It was featured on the poster for the 1987 Marchon Washington for LEsbian and Gay Rights. In the fight against the AIDS epidemic the militant group ACT-UP used an inverted pink triangle on their historic 'Silence Equals Death' posters that were seen everywhere in San Francisco during the crisis." Learn more!

  • NYC Pride. "Celebrating its 40th year, Heritage of Pride NYC Pride announces our official theme for 2024, 'Reflect. Empower. Unite.' as it kicks off this year's programming. The theme was selected to highlight the importance of the NYC Pride March as the intersection for Queer liberation and joy. Drawing upon the activist history that ignited that movement for LGBTQIA+ rights, the theme encourages individuals, advocates, community leaders and allies to reflect on the challenges they have overcome together and empowers them to take action in shaping our collective future. At a time of division in our country and the world, this year's theme calls for unity within and throughout the LGBTQIA+ community and is a call to action for ALL allies, especially those in government and the private sector, to demonstrate their alliance with the community-at-large at this critical time in our nation's history." Learn More!

Are you a leader committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within your organization but find yourself facing roadblocks? Step into a transformative journey with our exclusive 45-minute consultation designed to quantum leap your DEI efforts! Walk away with actions steps you can take- same day!

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What is Pride Month? What to know about the LGBTQ observance -Today

"June is Pride Month and across the world there are celebrations and commemorations to recognize all who identify as LGBTQ and their allies.

While the rainbows and glitter may catch your eye, at the heart of Pride Month is a call for greater unity, visibility and equality for the LGBTQ community, as well as a time to reflect on the milestones of the past 50 years.

What is the meaning of Pride Month? According to the GLADD website, Pride provides 'an opportunity for the community to come together, take stock and recognize the advances and setbacks made in the past year. It is also a chance for the community to come together and celebrate in a festive, affirming atmosphere.'

From June 1 to June 30, Pride celebrations, marches, festivals, performances and gatherings are held to uplift LGBTQ voices, and last anywhere from several days to a full week.

Pride Month had humble beginnings: It initially began as Gay Pride Day, observed annually on the last Sunday in June.

As awareness increased, more activities and events were planned throughout the month and eventually, it evolved into the month-long observance, aptly named Pride Month.

In 1999, President Bill Clinton officially declared June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, setting aside the month as a time to recognize the LGBTQ community's achievements and support the community."

What was the Stonewall uprising? -National Geographic

"What was life like for LGBTQ people?

LGBTQ people had long been subject to social sanction and legal harassment for their sexual orientation, which had been criminalized on the pretexts of religion and morality. By the 1960s, homosexuality was clinically classified as a mental disorder, and most municipalities in the United States had discriminatory laws that forbade same-sex relationships and denied basic rights to anyone suspected of being gay. Although some gay rights groups had begun to protest this treatment publicly, many LGBTQ people led their lives in secret.

New York City, however, was home to a large LGBTQ population and a thriving gay nightlife. Gay bars were rare places where people could be open about their sexual orientation. By 1969, activists had compelled the New York state liquor authority to overturn its policy against issuing liquor licenses to gay bars. Profit was a motive. Owners, many of whom were associated with organized crime, saw a business opportunity in catering to a gay clientele; they had also learned to avoid raids by greasing police officers' palms with bribes.

Business was humming, but gay bars were still dangerous places to congregate. Police officers regularly surveilled and entrapped gay men; they raided gay bars on pretexts that ranged from 'disorderly conduct' to a variety of minor liquor license infractions.

The Stonewall Inn was grubby and barely legal. Located in Greenwich Village, the heart of gay life in New York at the time, its patrons were among the most marginalized members of New York's LGBTQ community- including underaged and unhoused individuals, people of color, and drag performers.

'This club was more than a dance bar, more than just a gay gathering place,' wrote Dick Leitsch, the first gay journalist to document the events. 'It catered largely to a group of people who are not welcome in, or cannot afford, other places of homosexual social gathering.'

25 Brands With Pride Products That Actually Give Back to the LGBTQ+ Community -Out

"It's June, and that means we're once again surrounded by countless rainbow-colored, Pride-themed products. But which ones actually benefit the LGBTQ+ community and which ones are just for show?

Of course, we always have to be wary of Rainbow Capitalism, as Target has shown us this year. Even when a large company like Target can have a huge Pride collection for years, they can still give in to pressure from homophobes.

These products all are sold with the idea of actually helping the LGBTQ+ community, whether it's through hiring queer artists, donating to charities, or partnering with LGTQ+ organizations.

  • IKEA: This June, IKEA U.S. has partnered with True Colors United to donate 100% of the sales (up to $50k) of its iconic Storstomma Bag to the organization that is focused on providing solutions for homelessness in the LGBTQ+ youth community.

  • JOANN's Pride collection includes yarn in the colors of Pride flags, patterned fabrics with rainbows, pronouns, flags or drag queens, accessories, bags, and more. This year, JOANN partnered with The Trevor Project by donating $30,000 to help end suicide among LGBTQ+ young people.

  • Fossil: This company's Pride 2023 collection includes rings, watches, and necklaces, all which have colors of the Pride and Trans flags. Fossil is again partnering with The Trevor Project, to whom it's donated over $275,000 since 2021."

From police raids to pop culture: The early history of modern drag -National Geographic

"Before drag queens competed for a crown and the title of America's Next Drag Superstar on the Emmy-winning show RuPaul's Drag Race, drag emerged from two separate worlds: female impersonators in silent films and popular theater- and underground drag balls that were part of a vibrant LGBTQ subculture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Because of the stigma surrounding drag, much of its history is muddled. But many modern drag queens credit drag balls as the true origin of their art form. Held in secret, these competitions were pioneered by Black and Latino performers- including one who is believed to be the first self-styled 'drag queen.'

Here's what to know about the history of drag."

Queer history has been 'deliberately destroyed.' These filmmakers aim to fix it -National Geographic

"Kristen Lovell has a straightforward goal when crafting 'The Stroll.' As she puts it in the HBO documentary, co-directed with Zackary Drucker, 'I wanted to make people understand the reality of our lives through storytelling.'

The lives she's referring to are those of trans women who for decades walked up and down the titular 'stroll.' Located in a pre-gentrified Meatpacking District near 14th Street in New York City, the area was a safe haven for trans women like Lovell, many of whom turned to sex work as the only viable route to survival.

'The Stroll,' premiering Wednesday on HBO and max, is anchored by a number of poignant testimonials from generations of trans women who once walked and worked that infamous strip. But the doc is most impactful for the way it reuses photographs and archival images from news broadcasts and documentaries, reframing how the history of the stroll- and queer history more broadly- can and should be told."

Let's Hear it For The Boys (ft. Brian Michael Smith)- We See Each Other: The Podcast

"On this week's episode, hosts Tre'vell Anderson and Shar Jossell speak with 9-1-1: Lone Star's, Brian Michael Smith. The actor shares how he is now able to bring all sides of himself to the table as an actor. But first, our hosts discuss masc representation in media, or rather the lack thereof. With cis women actors playing transmasculine characters as the norm back in the day, like Hilary Swank in Boys Don't Cry, our hosts discuss how this practice creates further confusion and harm into the trans conversation. Then later, we Pass The Mic to our everyday trans siblings and get a lesson on transmasculine activist and civil rights pioneer, Pauli Murray.

Over the course of this series, Tre'vell and Shar will be including the personal experiences of 'everyday' trans people."

Before Stonewall- Throughline

"Fifty years ago, a gay bar in New York City called The Stonewall Inn was raided by police, and what followed were days of rebellion where protesters and police clashed. Today, that event is seen as the start of the gay civil rights movement, but gay activists and organizations were standing up to harassment and discrimination years before. On this episode, the fight for gay rights before Stonewall."

How Black Queer Culture Shaped History- TED

"Names like Bayard Rustin, Frances Thompson and William Dorsey Swann have been largely erased from US history, but they and other Black queer leaders played central roles in monumental movements like emancipation, civil rights and LGBTQ+ pride, among others. In this tribute to forgotten icons, queer culture historian and TED Fellow Channing Gerard Joseph shares their little-known stories, connecting the origins of drag in the 1880s to the present day and exploring the awesome power to choose how we define ourselves."

Weekly Activity

This week's personal development opportunity is to familiarize yourself with the legislative attacks on LGBTQ rights in your state. The ACLU is currently tracking 491 anti-LGBTQ bills in the U.S. This number is constantly updated on their website.

In the last few years, states have advanced a record number of bills that attack LGBTQ rights, especially transgender youth. The ACLU is tracking these attacks and working with [their] national network of affiliates to support LGBTQ people everywhere.

Using the ACLU interactive map, learn how these bills target LGBTQ rights in your state.

Book Recommendation

The Stonewall Reader

"June 28, 2019 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, which is considered the most significant event in the gay liberation movement, and the catalyst for the modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States. Drawing from the New York Public Library's archives, The Stonewall Reader is a collection of first accounts, diaries, periodic literature, and articles from LGBTQ magazines and newspapers that documented both the years leading up to and the years following the riots. Most importantly the anthology spotlights both iconic activists who were pivotal in the movement, such as Sylvia Rivera, co-founder of Street Transvestites Action RevolutionarIes (STAR), as well as forgotten figures like Ernestine Eckstein, one of the few out, African American, lesbian activists in the 1960s. The anthology focuses on the events of 1969, the five years before, and the five years after. Jason Baumann, the NYPL coordinator of humanities and LGBTQ collections, has edited and introduced the volume to coincide with the NYPL exhibition he has curated on the Stonewall uprising and gay liberation movement of 1969."

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