From the Office of Institutional Equity, Justice, and Belonging (OIEJB): Happy Pride Month!
The history of people who represent the LGBTQ+ community (What does LGBTQ+ stand for? See below for an explanation) is as long as the history of humanity, but the history of equal, open, and legal human rights for the LGBTQ+ community is shorter. The joys and struggles celebrated during Pride Month are ongoing, just as struggles and joys experienced by other communities we have highlighted during the OIEJB History and Heritage Month Series are ongoing. Until 1973, for example, the American Psychiatric Association labeled homosexuality as a mental illness. Recent victories in marriage equality are still overshadowed by the lack of clear, fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections in more than half of U.S. states. Several states are considering or have already passed legislation prohibiting gender affirming care, and in some states that care is even being labeled as child abuse. Furthermore, LGBTQ+ characters and historical figures are being banned from school curricula–this article describes a teacher in Florida being investigated for showing a movie with a gay character in it. It is more important than ever that we stand in solidarity with LGBTQIA+ people, as this is a time where those identities are being further marginalized and attacked.
Nevertheless, members of the LGBTQ+ community continue fighting for equal rights and protections.
Historians of Pride Month trace its beginnings to a clash between law enforcement officers and people gathered in and around the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City, on June 28, 1969. The inn had been the target of previous police raids–similar to other establishments in other cities–and on the night of June 28 some onlookers, including transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson (who some credit with initiating the protest) felt the accumulated frustration of searches based on little more than homophobia boil over; they fought back against police, and continued to fight back over the next several nights during other skirmishes with law enforcement. A few weeks later, a “gay power” rally was organized in nearby Washington Square Park, and one year later, organizers who wanted to continue commemorating the Stonewall resistance planned a march to Central Park organized around the theme “Gay Pride,” and a movement was born.
Since its beginning, Pride has been a political event, a protest against unjust systems, even when the celebration has elements of lightheartedness and fun. Pride rallies have been used to register voters and to pressure politicians to express their support for the LGBTQ+ community by marching. While the movement began in the United States, Pride month events now happen around the world. At Sandy Spring Friends School, we will mark the month with displays and reading lists in all three divisions, advisory activities in MS and US, and a variety of other activities intended to celebrate members of our community who identify as LGBTQ+.
What’s in an Acronym?
According to the Associated Press style guide, the acronyms LGBT, LGBTQ or LGBTQIA are
"Acceptable in all references for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning and/or queer. In quotations and the formal names of organizations and events, other forms such as LGBTQIA and other variations are also acceptable with the other letters explained. I generally stands for intersex, and A can stand for allies (a person who is not LGBT but who actively supports the LGBT community), asexual (a person who doesn't experience sexual attraction) or both. The word queer can be considered a slur in many contexts, so limit use of the word to quotes and names of organizations..."