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.”
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.
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.