LGBTQ+ Pride Month Blog 2023 – Fighting the Increasing Hate

Even though I did not find Pride items in my local Walmart, I could order them and get them delivered there.

Every June, LGBTQ+ Pride Month is now celebrated worldwide, commemorating the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion which is often considered the beginning of the modern LGBTQ-rights movement. So much progress has been made in the ensuing decades since 1969 with many more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people being able to live out and proud lives.

There are still many places around the world, particularly in Asia and Africa where LGBTQ people are severely persecuted, and now in the United States there is a mounting of outward hate, violence and discrimination of LGBTQ+ people, often led by political leaders trying to divide Americans against each other for political gain and power.

On May 24, I read this disturbing news piece from Associated Press titled “Target pulls some LGBTQ+ merchandise from stores ahead of June Pride month after threats to workers.” The article begins, “Target is removing certain items from its stores and making other changes to its LGBTQ+ merchandise nationwide ahead of Pride month, after an intense backlash from some customers including violent confrontations with its workers.”

One of the cute Pride Month books Walmart is selling

Many other companies (like Walmart) support LGBTQ+Pride month with merchandise.  Walmart is now under this same anti-LGBTQ hateful pressure and it looks like they hopefully will not retreat like Target.

Other sad news I have been recently frequently reading about is the cancellation of various planned events featuring drag queens because of violent threats. In some state legislatures, politicians are attempting to outlaw drag performances while doing nothing to address our national pandemic of thousands of citizens dying due to gun violence.

This news disgusts me and demands a call to action.

First, these hateful bigots who accost store employees over Walmart’s or Target’s merchandise should be arrested for assault. If someone does not like certain merchandise, they don’t need to buy it or they can choose to patronize another store.

Second, LGBTQ people and allies should support WalMart for carrying the Pride merchandise, patronize the store, and thank Walmart employees and managers for carrying this merchandise.

Republicans in the North Carolina legislature are proposing laws to outlaw public drag queen performances

Third, people need to outwardly condemn all forms of anti-queer hate and bigotry. That includes not voting nor supporting any political candidate who backs or supports any of the slew of anti-LGBTQ legislation currently working its way through many state legislatures.

Major corporations also need to take a stand and strongly condemn all forms of LGBTQ+ hate and oppression. You cannot claim to be ally of the LGBTQ community if you either support these hateful political leaders or fail to speak out to condemn anti-LGBTQ oppression. Silence in these matters make you complicit in this nastiness.

Five Intersections – LGBTQ Pride Month and Black Lives Matter

Added in 2024 – one great way to support the Black community is to patronize Black-owned businesses.  Here is an article that lists over 150 Black-owned businesses. 

Every year since the Stonewall Rebellion in Greenwich Village, New York City in late June, 1969, June has been traditionally observed initially as Gay Pride Month, and now LGBTQ Pride Month. But this year, all in person June celebrations and parades have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now everything has been overshadowed (and rightfully so) by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. His murder combined with the additional recent unaddressed murders of Breonna Taylor (Louisville, Kentucky) and Ahmaud Arbery (South Georgia) has now led to ongoing mass demonstrations around the world against racism and police brutality.

So I do feel it is important for the LGBTQ+ communities to pause and recognize the intersections between racism and “The Black Lives” matter movement with LGBTQ Pride and ongoing battle for LGBTQ equality. Here are 5 intersections:

1) Built upon the base. Though June is LGBTQ Pride Month, we all must place the highest priority on the most recent events around the murder of George Floyd, and the need for community and national engagement with the never-ending work that must continue around addressing systemic racism (see my earlier blog on personal and systemic racism). LGBTQ+ people and allies must be involved and take action around racism, recognizing that much of LGBTQ+ equity progress has been built upon the foundations of racial equity work. Let us never forget and be always grateful of the path Black Americans and racial justice activists paved for LGBTQ+ equity.

Bayard Rustin was the main organizer of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1963 March on Washington on leading gay rights advocate in the 1970s and 1980s.

2) Intersectionality. Everyone is comprised of a complex mix of their own unique diversity attributes, and we really cannot simply separate one attribute of our diversity and consider it in isolation of our full selves. We have to consider our own race, gender, abilities, etc. as we consider our queer identities.

3) Oppression and issues. Many of the same issues impacting communities of color also impact LGBTQ communities. These include issues of healthcare discrepancies, issues around education, economic development and employment, etc.

4) The importance of allies. Racism is an issue that the white majority must own and take strong action to fix. The issues around racism cannot be laid at the feet of black people to fix; it is the white majority in power that built and controls the mechanisms that perpetrate systemic racism. In the same way, the LGBTQ community must rely and value the work of our straight and cisgender allies who advocate for our equality. Furthermore, many Black organizations, like the NAACP, have been strong allies to the LGBTQ community and include our issues prominently in their work. Link to archive of the NAACP’s LGBTQ equality work.

5) Commons foes. Communities of color and LGBTQ communities must realize that we do face commons foes; whether it be well-intentioned people who may not know how to engage us in the best way, or mean-spirited bigots who want to hold on to their power and oppress others. Marginalized communities must unite to engage and build allies while building larger coalitions to fight discrimination and oppression.

May we all work together to build a stronger nation and stronger world where we all leverage our diversity for the common good of all.

*   *   *   *   *

Blog author Stan Kimer is a diversity consultant and trainer who handles all areas of workplace diversity and with a deep expertise in LGBT diversity strategy and training,  Unconscious Bias and Employee Resource Groups.  Please explore the rest of my website and never hesitate to contact me for your diversity speaking or training needs, or pass my name onto your HR department.  [email protected]