This Pride Month, we are once again reminded that despite great strides of progress made for the LGBTQ community over the past few decades, the fight for full LGBTQ acceptance is far from over.
At a time when the number of out LGBTQ people continues to grow, we should take Pride Month to celebrate who we are, but also to remember the root of Pride is in protest and in demanding full acceptance and equality. The spirit of Pride is needed this month and all year long.
Over this past year, we have witnessed an unprecedented level of horrifying attacks on the LGBTQ community in policy, rhetoric, and direct violence. In 2021 alone, there have been over 250 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in state legislatures across the United States, most of which specifically target transgender people and youth. Many of these laws target the rights of trans youth to play school sports or criminalize doctors for providing life-affirming care to trans youth and their families. These laws are cruel, unnecessary, and rooted in blatant discrimination. Despite major medical and educational organizations speaking out against the laws, several states across the country including Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia have signed such anti-LGBTQ legislation into law this year. All LGBTQ people and allies must loudly speak out and take action to fight these laws and future ones.
Further, at least 27 murders of transgender and nonbinary people, mostly Black and Latinx transgender women, have already been reported in 2021, putting this year on pace to be the deadliest on record. This ongoing cycle of violence against the trans community is an epidemic that must be imminently addressed, but only continues to worsen by the ongoing slate of baseless and shameful attacks on trans people on the state legislative level.
Events of the last year have also brought necessary attention and awareness to the long history of oppression of people of color in America. From the horrific and public murders of Black Americans, to the terrifying rise in hate crimes against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, to the devastating health and financial impacts of COVID-19 on marginalized groups, we repeatedly see how the oppression of people of color continues to result in an ongoing cycle of inequality, discrimination, and injustice, by which LGBTQ people of color are disproportionately impacted. Black Lives Matter is a LGBTQ issue. #StopAsianHate is a LGBTQ issue. The DREAM Act and fight for equal pay are LGBTQ issues. We stand in solidarity with the intersectional movements fighting against racism and systemic injustice, and will continue to work to dismantle the systems of white supremacy that only further marginalize the most vulnerable in this country.
At this critical time in the fight for LGBTQ acceptance, we must continue to drive awareness to the pressing issues affecting our community, including the lack of LGBTQ protections nationwide. Currently, more than half of U.S. states still have no explicit laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in key areas of life, including housing, education, public accommodations, access to credit, federally-funded programs, and jury service. This could all change with the passage of the Equality Act, which would provide comprehensive protections for LGBTQ people, as well as women, people of color, and religious minorities.
As leaders in our community continue to push for the passage of this landmark legislation in the Senate, we call on our allies across the country, including corporations and those in the business community, to publicly speak out in support of the Equality Act. It’s simple: protecting all LGBTQ people, including LGBTQ people of color and members of the trans community, is both good for business and good for the world.
This Pride Month, it has never been more important to show up for LGBTQ people, specifically the trans community, which continues to be disproportionately impacted by discrimination, violence, and inequality. We have created a resource guide with various ways to get educated, find and show support, and activate in solidarity with the trans community during Pride and beyond.
As we reflect on and honor the past 52 years since the Stonewall riots and all the trailblazers who have paved the way for acceptance and visibility of our community today, we must remain centered on the reality that full LGBTQ acceptance cannot be achieved until we protect the most vulnerable among us.