🏳️‍🌈 Celebrating Pride Month – Part II 🏳️‍🌈

Yesterday, I posted a bit of the history of Pride Month in the U.S., and as I mentioned there, I took up all my space talking about the history of the month, and didn’t leave room for all the fun things.  This post incorporates some of last year’s post, but also some new things that show some of the many ways the month is celebrated, people who have been prominent in bringing LGBTQ issues to the forefront, pictures, etc.  Last year, Pride events were severely curtailed with nearly all in-person Pride marches, demonstrations and parades being canceled or turned into virtual events because of safety considerations due to the pandemic.  But with the vaccine rollout continuing around the world, many organizers have resumed plans to hold in-person Pride events and more than 150 official Pride festivals and events are happening around the world in 2021.  But first, let’s look back at a few of my favourites from years past …

This one dates back to 2019, but it’s one of my favourite stories to celebrate Pride Month.  One of the things I found most fun takes place at the London Zoo.  You might remember a post I wrote in October 2018 about Sphen and Magic, two same-sex penguins in Sydney, Australia, who were given a baby penguin to raise.   Well, the London Zoo has its own celebrity couple, Ronnie and Reggie.gay-penguinsTo celebrate the pair and similar animal couples, in 2019 the zoo gave a “Pride makeover” to its Zoo Night event on July 5. In addition to regular Zoo Night festivities, the zoo taught about gender, mating and same-sex animal pairings.

Like Sphen and Magic, Ronnie and Reggie adopted an egg that was abandoned by another couple, sharing parenting duties of their chick Kyton until he fledged the nest. Though their baby is now grown, Ronnie and Reggie are still going strong and are often found snuggling in their nest box. The zoo is home to 93 penguins total, and Ronnie and Reggie are not the only same-sex couple. 👍


How ‘bout a beer?  The makers of Bud Light are very LGBTQ-friendly, and for two decades have partnered with GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).  Last year, they did something pretty cool to honour the LGBTQ community.  Take a look …Pride-month-bud-light.jpgBud Light sold the rainbow-colored aluminum bottles in bars nationwide from May 27 to June 30 and donated to GLAAD $1 from each case sold.  👍


Pride-turbanThis is Jiwandeep Kohli, a Sikh man from San Diego.  Last June, he posted this picture on Twitter, and the response was overwhelming … it garnered nearly 152,000 likes, and was re-tweeted more than 21,000 times, including once by none other than President Obama!!!  👍


CNN did a nice piece highlighting six LGBTQ activists:  Billie Jean King, Harvey Milk, Marsha P. Johnson, Audre Lorde, Larry Kramer, and RuPaul Charles.  Of these, I had only heard of the first two, but the piece is well worth a read, for these six people have been key players in the fight for LGBTQ rights.  And on a personal note, if you have never seen the film Milk, starring Sean Penn, now is the time.  I am not a fan of Mr. Penn, but I saw this movie several years ago, and … I promise you will love Harvey Milk, and you will need a box of tissues.  At least check it out, and also the piece by CNN.    👍


Pride Month is not only celebrated in the U.S., but ‘round the world.  Last year, due to the pandemic, most events were virtual, but this year, with things beginning to open back up, there were many parades and celebrations.  Here are a few of this year’s international celebrations …

Copenhagen WorldPride 2021

In 2021, Copenhagen Pride is the lucky host of WorldPride: a world-wide Pride event that celebrates a new city each year. In a massive celebration of equality and diversity.

Madrid Pride 2021

Celebrating a half-century of LGBTQ+ liberation in one of the best cities in Spain, MADO (Madrid Pride) is a colorful week-long party with open air concerts, parties, art, culture and sport, all taking place in Chueca: Madrid’s famous gay neighborhood and the very center of the city. The climax is the parade, with over 2 million attendees expected in 2021.

NYC Pride 2021

30 days, 50+ events, 3 million people. The event’s attached nonprofit, Heritage of Pride, plans and produces the city’s first and only official LGBTQIA+ Pride events each year to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969: the beginning of the modern Gay Rights movement.  Even the police get into the spirit!

Paris Pride 2021

Marche des Fiertés LGBTQ is a historic event for the French capital, born in the 80’s when a group of locals from the community united over a fight for LGBTQ+ rights.  Disneyland Paris is throwing a magical Pride celebration on in June 2021.

Berlin Pride 2021

Berlin Pride is one of the biggest European Pride events of the year. Known by locals as CSD (Christopher Street Day), the event is a gay landmark that’s been celebrated in Berlin since 1979. Today, four decades later, over one million people gather each year to honor LGBTQ+ equality and self-determination in Germany. Attendees of CSD can expect everything from official club nights in Kreuzberg to queer film screenings across the city.

London Pride 2021

Pride in London is “about the people, for the people.” This year’s theme is  #PrideJubilee, remembering fifty years of activism, protests and victories that have made the movement what it is today.

There are many more such events all ’round the globe from Amsterdam to Mexico and everywhere in between, and you can find information about many other parades and celebrations hereNote that some cities are postponing their parades until later in the year, in hopes that the pandemic will have further receded. 

There is much, much more I could write, many more wonderful events to cover, but time and space are limited.  Sadly, in this, the 21st century, discrimination against the LGBTQ community still exists.  But, there are positive signs, too.  Earlier this month sisters Dawn & Miranda, co-owners of a small Lufkin, Texas bakery, saw both the negative and the positive when they advertised their Pride cookies …

The following day, the sisters saw order after order being cancelled and messages of hate left on their website.  But then … after the sisters posted about their plight, about the hate they were receiving, they became an overnight hit!  People from as far away as Washington state, Minnesota, New York, Canada, Brazil and the United Kingdom sent messages of support and their entire stock of baked goods sold out by mid-afternoon.  By the end of the next day, they had gained some 2,500 new social media followers!

The line waiting to get into the bakery!

When there was nothing left to buy, customers began simply donating money to the sisters … money that they then donated to Wendy’s Misfits Animal Rescue, an all-volunteer non-profit in Lufkin.  See how love can overcome hate?  It really can, my friends.


To all my friends who are part of the LGBTQ community … HUGE hugs and much love to you all!!!

Pride-month-1Pride-month-1-aPride-month-1-bPride-month-1-cPride-month-1-dPride-month-1-ePride-month-1-fPride-month-1-g

Five Years Later …. “ 🏳️‍🌈 ‘It Still Hurts! Gone Too Soon’ – #OrlandoUnited 🏳️‍🌈 …. “!!

Due to circumstances largely beyond my control, Part II of my “Celebrating Pride Month” post has been delayed by a day until this afternoon. However, as my friend Larry points out, PRIDE Month is about more than parades and celebrations, it is about history and heartbreak as well. Five years ago, 49 people were murdered and 53 others injured in a mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. My dear friend Horty Rex is looking back at that night, remembering those people, and I think her post is as important to honouring PRIDE Month as are the parades and celebrations. Thank you, Horty, for this beautiful tribute to those people.

It Is What It Is

~~June 12, 2021~~

PULSE NIGHTCLUB MASSACRE

Five years ago today, I remember waking up to the horrific reality, perpetrated on my local LGBTQ+ community in Orlando.

#OrlandoUnited

Gone but not frogotten!!

The majority of the victims were Latin/Hispanic … that was another blow to one of my demographics. It’s something that can’t never, ever be fogotten!!

#49Angels

… who will live in our hearts and memories for all eternity!!

HortyRex©

ORLANDO

~REMEMBERING THE PULSE 49~

Five years ago, 49 families learned their mothers, fathers, siblings and friends would not be coming home after a gunman opened fire on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Each one of the 49 people killed, now known as the 49 angels, on June 12, 2016, left behind a legacy.

Before they were victims, the 49 were mothers, fathers, recent graduates, veterans, breast cancer survivors, dreamers, artists and so much more.

~~Published April 28, 2017~~

On…

View original post 79 more words

🏳️‍🌈 Celebrating PRIDE Month – Part I 🏳️‍🌈

My posts are usually geared toward socio-political issues such as racism & bigotry, politics, the environment, etc., but every now and then there is something that takes precedence over all those things — they will still be here tomorrow, right?  Today, I am dedicating Filosofa’s Word, as I have for the past two years, to Pride Month.  Quick question:  do you know what PRIDE stands for?  I’m ashamed to say that I did not know until a few days ago that it stands for Personal Rights In Defense and Education.  Makes perfect sense, don’t you think?  The fight to be recognized and accepted has been an ongoing battle for decades, perhaps longer, and while we have made progress, today there are states such as Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and others that have either passed or are preparing bills that would legalize discrimination against the LGBTQ community.

The following is Part I of a post I wrote for PRIDE Month in 2019 and reprised in 2020.  I don’t believe in re-inventing the wheel, and frankly when I read over this post, except for a few minor adjustments, I didn’t think I could do any better if I started over.  Part II will be on the schedule for later this afternoon.  Meanwhile, to all my friends in the LGBTQ community … I wish you a heartfelt Happy PRIDE Month!


Pride-month-3June is Pride Month, a month dedicated to recognizing the impact LGBTQ people have had in the world.  I see Pride Month in much the same way I see February’s Black History Month.  It is a way to honour or commemorate those who rarely receive the recognition they deserve, and are often discriminated against, simply because they are LGBTQ, or Black, in the case of Black History Month.  A bit of history …

The Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, was owned by the Genovese crime family, and in 1966, three members of the Genovese family invested $3,500 to turn the Stonewall Inn into a gay bar, after it had been a restaurant and a nightclub for heterosexuals. Once a week a police officer would collect envelopes of cash as a payoff, as the Stonewall Inn had no liquor license and thus was operating outside the law.  It was the only bar for gay men in New York City where dancing was allowed; dancing was its main draw since its re-opening as a gay club.

At 1:20 a.m. on Saturday, June 28, 1969, four plainclothes policemen in dark suits, two patrol officers in uniform, and Detective Charles Smythe and Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine arrived at the Stonewall Inn’s double doors and announced “Police! We’re taking the place!”  Approximately 205 people were in the bar that night. Patrons who had never experienced a police raid were confused. A few who realized what was happening began to run for doors and windows in the bathrooms, but police barred the doors.

Standard procedure was to line up the patrons, check their identification, and have female police officers take customers dressed as women to the bathroom to verify their sex, upon which any men dressed as women would be arrested. Those dressed as women that night refused to go with the officers. Men in line began to refuse to produce their identification. The police decided to take everyone present to the police station, after separating those cross-dressing in a room in the back of the bar.

Long story short, a few patrons were released before the patrol wagons arrived to cart the rest off to jail, and those few stayed out front, attracted quite a large crowd, mostly LGBT people, and after an officer hit a woman over the head for saying her handcuffs were too tight, the crowd went into fight mode.  By this time, the police were outnumbered by some 600 people.  Garbage cans, garbage, bottles, rocks, and bricks were hurled at the building, breaking the windows.  The mob lit garbage on fire and stuffed it through the broken windows.  Police tried to use water hoses to disperse the crowd, but there was no water pressure.  Police pulled their weapons, but before they could fire them, the Tactical Patrol Force and firefighters arrived.  The crowd mocked and fought against the police, who began swinging their batons right and left, not much caring who they hit or where.

The crowd was cleared by 4:00 a.m., but the mood remained dark, and the next night, rioting resumed with thousands of people showing up at the Stonewall, blocking the streets.  Police responded, and again it was 4:00 a.m. before the mob was cleared.

There comes a point when people who are mistreated, abused, discriminated against, have had enough.  It is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, and the police raid on the Stonewall Inn, the treatment of people who were only out to enjoy the night, was that straw.  It was a history making night, not only for the LGBTQ community, but for the nation.pride-month-stonewall.jpgWithin six months of the Stonewall riots, activists started a citywide newspaper called Gay; they considered it necessary because the most liberal publication in the city—The Village Voice—refused to print the word “gay”.  Two other newspapers were initiated within a six-week period: Come Out! and Gay Power; the readership of these three periodicals quickly climbed to between 20,000 and 25,000.  Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) was formed with a constitution that began …

“We as liberated homosexual activists demand the freedom for expression of our dignity and value as human beings.”

I think that says it all, don’t you?  ‘Dignity and value as human beings’.  It is, in my book, a crying shame that our society needs to be reminded that we are all human beings, that we all have value and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

Christopher Street Liberation Day on June 28, 1970 marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots with an assembly on Christopher Street; with simultaneous Gay Pride marches in Los Angeles and Chicago, these were the first Gay Pride marches in U.S. history. The next year, Gay Pride marches took place in Boston, Dallas, Milwaukee, London, Paris, West Berlin, and Stockholm.  The Stonewall riots are considered the birth of the gay liberation movement and of gay pride on a massive scale.  The event has been likened to the Boston Tea Party, and Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of the bus.  All of those were people’s way of saying, “We’ve had enough!”

2019 marked the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall Inn raid and ensuing riots, and at long last, the New York City Police Department apologized to the LGBTQ community.  “The actions taken by the NYPD [at Stonewall] were wrong, plain and simple,” police commissioner James O’Neill said.  He also noted that the frequent harassment of LGBTQ men and women and laws that prohibited same-sex sexual relations are “discriminatory and oppressive” and apologized on behalf of the department.

President Bill Clinton first declared June to be National Pride Month in 1999, and again in 2000.  On June 1, 2001, President George W. Bush announced that the White House would not formally recognize Pride Month.  Every year that President Barack Obama was in office, he declared June to be LGBT Pride Month.  Donald Trump ignored it in throughout his tenure and blocked the display of the Pride flag at all U.S. embassies.  This year, President Biden recognized Pride Month, saying he “will not rest until full equality for LGBTQ+ Americans is finally achieved and codified into law.”

“”During LGBTQ+ Pride Month, we recognize the resilience and determination of the many individuals who are fighting to live freely and authentically. In doing so, they are opening hearts and minds, and laying the foundation for a more just and equitable America.”

Since this post turned into a history lesson, I wrote a second post to highlight some of the celebrations, the fun ways that people celebrate pride month, the people and organizations that are supporting Pride Month, and to honour the LGBTQ community, but I felt the history was important also, so … stay tuned for Part II later this afternoon!

Pride-month-4

The Week’s Best Cartoons 6/5

One thing I love about Saturdays is the collection of the week’s best political/editorial cartoons that our friend TokyoSand publishes weekly.  This week’s topics range from Pride Month to the ignominious senate filibuster to racism to the current state of freedom in the U.S. to the killing of the January 6 commission and more.  Thank you, TS, for this great collection!


Be sure to check out the rest of the ‘toons over at Political Charge!

🏳️‍🌈 Celebrating Pride Month – Part II 🏳️‍🌈

Earlier, I posted a bit of the history of Pride Month in the U.S., and as I mentioned there, I took up all my space talking about the history of the month, and didn’t leave room for all the fun things.  So, in this post, I want to take a different direction, show some of the many ways the month is celebrated, people who have been prominent in bringing LGBTQ issues to the forefront, pictures, etc.

One of the things I found most fun takes place at the London Zoo.  You might remember a post I wrote in October 2018 about Sphen and Magic, two same-sex penguins in Sydney, Australia, who were given a baby penguin to raise.   Well, the London Zoo has its own celebrity couple, Ronnie and Reggie.gay-penguinsTo celebrate the pair and similar animal couples, last year the zoo gave a “Pride makeover” to its Zoo Night event on July 5. In addition to regular Zoo Night festivities, the zoo taught about gender, mating and same-sex animal pairings.

Like Sphen and Magic, Ronnie and Reggie adopted an egg that was abandoned by another couple, sharing parenting duties of their chick Kyton until he fledged the nest. Though their baby is now grown, Ronnie and Reggie are still going strong and are often found snuggling in their nest box. The zoo is home to 93 penguins total, and Ronnie and Reggie are not the only same-sex couple. 👍

How ‘bout a beer?  The makers of Bud Light are very LGBTQ-friendly, and for two decades have partnered with GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).  Last year, they did something pretty cool to honour the LGBTQ community.  Take a look …Pride-month-bud-light.jpgBud Light sold the rainbow-colored aluminum bottles in bars nationwide from May 27 to June 30 and donated to GLAAD $1 from each case sold.  👍

Across the pond, Prince William visited AKT (The Albert Kennedy Trust), an LGBTQ youth and homeless charity, during Pride Month. When asked how he’d feel if his children came out as LGBTQ, the Duke of Cambridge said it would be “obviously absolutely fine by me” and that he’d “support whatever decision they make.”   

And, not to be outdone, his younger brother Harry, proud new papa, and his wife Meghan posted a collage of photos …Pride-month-Prince-Harry.jpg… and finished with “We stand with you and support you 🌈 Because it’s very simple: love is love.”👍

Pride-turbanThis is Jiwandeep Kohli, a Sikh man from San Diego.  Last June, he posted this picture on Twitter, and the response was overwhelming … it garnered nearly 152,000 likes, and was re-tweeted more than 21,000 times, including once by none other than President Obama!!!  👍

How about a few noteworthy wins for the LGBTQ community over the past year:  South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg was praised for celebrating his presidential run with his husband; Taiwan legalized same-sex marriage; GLAAD’s annual Studio Responsibility Index found a 5.4 percent uptick in characters identified as LGBTQ in films from major studios; Vice’s Broadly created a free, gender-inclusive stock photo library; the US elected its first lesbian Native American ex-MMA fighter to Congress; a GLAAD report found a “record high percentage of LGBTQ characters on broadcast TV;” and Queer Eye was renewed for not one but TWO more seasons. 👍 👍 👍 👍 👍

CNN did a nice piece highlighting six LGBTQ activists:  Billie Jean King, Harvey Milk, Marsha P. Johnson, Audre Lorde, Larry Kramer, and RuPaul Charles.  Of these, I had only heard of the first two, but the piece is well worth a read, for these six people have been key players in the fight for LGBTQ rights.  And on a personal note, if you have never seen the film Milk, starring Sean Penn, now is the time.  I am not a fan of Mr. Penn, but I saw this movie several years ago, and … I promise you will love Harvey Milk, and you will need a box of tissues.  At least check it out, and also the piece by CNN.    👍

Pride Month is not only celebrated in the U.S., but ‘round the world.  Here are a few of the international celebrations …Pride-month-Zurich.jpgZurich Pride Festival, Switzerland (June 14 -15): This Pride actually lasts two weeks, from June 1 to 16th, culminating in Switzerland’s largest city’s Pride Festival, a weekend of concerts, vendors, dance parties, and a parade. This year’s theme is Strength in Diversity.

Pride-month-Sao-Paolo.jpgSao Paulo Pride Parade, Brazil (June 23): The first Sao Paulo Pride Parade took place in 1997 when 2,000 LGBTQ activists gathered to celebrate their culture and protest against discrimination. The event has since become the largest Pride Parade in the world, with 5 million attendants in 2017.

Pride-month-Cologne.jpgCologne Pride Parade, Germany: Every year on the first weekend of July, Cologne holds a Christopher Street Day celebration, named for the New York neighborhood where the Pride movement began. The weekend features a street festival, political events, AIDS gala, and stage performances, culminating in a parade with over a million attendees and participants.

Pride-month-San-Francisco.jpgOutFest, Los Angeles: Every July, Los Angeles hosts one of the world’s largest LGBTQ film festivals, screening movies that share LGBTQ stories and highlight queer filmmakers. OutFest has recently placed the spotlight on underrepresented voices, featuring more directors that are women, trans, and people of color.

Pride-month-women-building.jpgThe Women’s Building in San Francisco has housed a variety of community organizations, including a food bank and a street youth group. It’s where a memorial service was held for Harvey Milk, the first openly gay member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, who was assassinated in 1978.

Pride-month-Amsterdam.jpgCanal Pride Festival, Amsterdam: Pride in the Dutch capital is as amazing as you’d expect from the home of the Red Light District and the first country to legalize gay marriage. Milkshake Festival, an outdoor dance festival dedicated to inclusivity and acceptance, kicks off the opening weekend of Canal Pride. As the week continues, there are street parties, a Drag Queen Olympics, and a unique Pride Parade that floats down the city’s canals.

There is much, much more I could write, but time and space are limited.  Sadly, in this, the 21st century, LBGTQ people, like women, Latinos, African-Americans, Muslims and others are seeing an uptick in discrimination, in the bigotry that has no logical explanation.  It’s been a long hard fight, progress was being made, and suddenly some element in our society decided that they are, somehow, superior.  They are not.  ‘Nuff said.

Sadly, due to the pandemic, most of the celebrations are on hold this year, but that doesn’t mean we should forget Pride Month.  I hope that next year I will have many new celebrations to write about.

To all my friends who are part of the LGBTQ community … HUGE hugs and much love to you all!!!

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🏳️‍🌈 Celebrating Pride Month – Part I 🏳️‍🌈

The past few months have been tough.  More than 113,000 of our friends, family members and neighbors have died in the U.S. alone as a result of a pandemic virus, police brutality and racism have shown us the ugliest face of our nation, and we have zero leadership to help us deal with these problems.  But, despite all the problems, despite the anguish this nation is undergoing, we cannot overlook a significant month.  This is the 9th day of June, and it was only yesterday that I remembered that June is Pride Month.  Another year, I would have seen it mentioned in a variety of venues, but this year I, like many others, was preoccupied and it was only my friend Brendan’s post that rang the bell for me yesterday evening.

This year, most all of the parades and celebrations have been canceled, the nation is torn and tattered, and try as I might, I could not write a cheerful post worthy of the occasion.  So … today I will be reprising last year’s two-part post with only a few changes or updates.


Pride-month-3June is Pride Month, a month dedicated to recognizing the impact LGBTQ people have had in the world.  I see Pride Month in much the same way I see February’s Black History Month.  It is a way to honour or commemorate those who rarely receive the recognition they deserve, and are often discriminated against, simply because they are LGBTQ, or black, in the case of Black History Month.  A bit of history …

The Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, was owned by the Genovese crime family, and in 1966, three members of the Genovese family invested $3,500 to turn the Stonewall Inn into a gay bar, after it had been a restaurant and a nightclub for heterosexuals. Once a week a police officer would collect envelopes of cash as a payoff, as the Stonewall Inn had no liquor license and thus was operating outside the law.  It was the only bar for gay men in New York City where dancing was allowed; dancing was its main draw since its re-opening as a gay club.

At 1:20 a.m. on Saturday, June 28, 1969, four plainclothes policemen in dark suits, two patrol officers in uniform, and Detective Charles Smythe and Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine arrived at the Stonewall Inn’s double doors and announced “Police! We’re taking the place!”  Approximately 205 people were in the bar that night. Patrons who had never experienced a police raid were confused. A few who realized what was happening began to run for doors and windows in the bathrooms, but police barred the doors.

Standard procedure was to line up the patrons, check their identification, and have female police officers take customers dressed as women to the bathroom to verify their sex, upon which any men dressed as women would be arrested. Those dressed as women that night refused to go with the officers. Men in line began to refuse to produce their identification. The police decided to take everyone present to the police station, after separating those cross-dressing in a room in the back of the bar.

Long story short, a few patrons were released before the patrol wagons arrived to cart the rest off to jail, and those few stayed out front, attracted quite a large crowd, mostly LGBT people, and after an officer hit a woman over the head for saying her handcuffs were too tight, the crowd went into fight mode.  By this time, the police were outnumbered by some 600 people.  Garbage cans, garbage, bottles, rocks, and bricks were hurled at the building, breaking the windows.  The mob lit garbage on fire and stuffed it through the broken windows.  Police tried to use water hoses to disperse the crowd, but there was no water pressure.  Police pulled their weapons, but before they could fire them, the Tactical Patrol Force and firefighters arrived.  The crowd mocked and fought against the police, who began swinging their batons right and left, not much caring who they hit or where.

The crowd was cleared by 4:00 a.m., but the mood remained dark, and the next night, rioting resumed with thousands of people showing up at the Stonewall, blocking the streets.  Police responded, and again it was 4:00 a.m. before the mob was cleared.

There comes a point when people who are mistreated, abused, discriminated against, have had enough.  It is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, and the police raid on the Stonewall Inn, the treatment of people who were only out to enjoy the night, was that straw.  It was a history making night, not only for the LGBTQ community, but for the nation.pride-month-stonewall.jpgWithin six months of the Stonewall riots, activists started a citywide newspaper called Gay; they considered it necessary because the most liberal publication in the city—The Village Voice—refused to print the word “gay”.  Two other newspapers were initiated within a six-week period: Come Out! and Gay Power; the readership of these three periodicals quickly climbed to between 20,000 and 25,000.  Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) was formed with a constitution that began …

“We as liberated homosexual activists demand the freedom for expression of our dignity and value as human beings.”

I think that says it all, don’t you?  ‘Dignity and value as human beings’.  It is, in my book, a crying shame that our society needs to be reminded that we are all human beings, that we all have value and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

Christopher Street Liberation Day on June 28, 1970 marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots with an assembly on Christopher Street; with simultaneous Gay Pride marches in Los Angeles and Chicago, these were the first Gay Pride marches in U.S. history. The next year, Gay Pride marches took place in Boston, Dallas, Milwaukee, London, Paris, West Berlin, and Stockholm.  The Stonewall riots are considered the birth of the gay liberation movement and of gay pride on a massive scale.  The event has been likened to the Boston Tea Party, and Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of the bus.  All of those were people’s way of saying, “We’ve had enough!”

Last year marked the 50 year anniversary of the Stonewall Inn raid and ensuing riots, and at long last, the New York City Police Department apologized to the LGBTQ community.  “The actions taken by the NYPD [at Stonewall] were wrong, plain and simple,” police commissioner James O’Neill said.  He also noted that the frequent harassment of LGBTQ men and women and laws that prohibited same-sex sexual relations are “discriminatory and oppressive” and apologized on behalf of the department.

President Bill Clinton first declared June to be National Pride Month in 1999, and again in 2000.  On June 1, 2001, President George W. Bush announced that the White House would not formally recognize Pride Month.  Every year that President Barack Obama was in office, he declared June to be LGBT Pride Month.  Donald Trump ignored it in 2017 and 2018, but acknowledged Pride Month in 2019, but only via tweet, and he blocked the display of the Pride flag at all U.S. embassies.  This year, he completely ignored Pride Month, though he did manage to find time to declare June to be “National Homeownership Month” and “Great Outdoors Month.”  Ah well … who needs him, anyway?

Since this post turned into a history lesson, I wrote a second post to highlight some of the celebrations, the fun ways that people celebrate pride month, the people and organizations that are supporting Pride Month, and to honour the LGBTQ community, but I felt the history was important also, so … stay tuned for Part II later this afternoon!

Pride-month-4

Saturday Surprise — Pride Month – Part II

Earlier, I posted a bit of the history of Pride Month* in the U.S., and as I mentioned there, I had not intended to take up all my space with history.  So, in this post, I want to take a different direction, show some of the many ways the month is celebrated, people who have been prominent in bringing LGBTQ issues to the forefront, pictures, etc.

One of the things I found most fun takes place at the London Zoo.  You might remember last October when, in another Saturday Surprise post, I wrote about Sphen and Magic, two same-sex penguins in Sydney, Australia, who were given a baby penguin to raise.   Well, the London Zoo has its own celebrity couple, Ronnie and Reggie.gay-penguinsTo celebrate the pair and similar animal couples, the zoo plans to give a “Pride makeover” to its Zoo Night event on July 5. In addition to regularly scheduled Zoo Night festivities, the zoo will teach about gender, mating and same-sex animal pairings.

Like Sphen and Magic, Ronnie and Reggie adopted an egg that was abandoned by another couple, sharing parenting duties of their chick Kyton until he fledged the nest. Though their baby is now grown, Ronnie and Reggie are still going strong and are often found snuggling in their nest box. The zoo is home to 93 penguins total, and Ronnie and Reggie are not the only same-sex couple. 👍

How ‘bout a beer?  The makers of Bud Light are very LGBTQ-friendly, and for two decades have partnered with GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).  This year, they’ve done something pretty cool to honour the LGBTQ community.  Take a look …Pride-month-bud-light.jpgBud Light will sell rainbow-colored aluminum bottles in bars nationwide from May 27 to June 30 and donate to GLAAD $1 from each case sold.  👍

Across the pond, Prince William visited AKT (The Albert Kennedy Trust), an LGBTQ youth and homeless charity, on Wednesday. When asked how he’d feel if his children came out as LGBTQ, the Duke of Cambridge said it would be “obviously absolutely fine by me” and that he’d “support whatever decision they make.”   

And, not to be outdone, his younger brother Harry, proud new papa, and his wife Meghan posted a collage of photos …Pride-month-Prince-Harry.jpg… and finished with “We stand with you and support you 🌈 Because it’s very simple: love is love.”👍

Pride-turbanThis is Jiwandeep Kohli, a Sikh man from San Diego.  Earlier this month, he posted this picture on Twitter, and the response was overwhelming … it garnered nearly 152,000 likes, and was re-tweeted more than 21,000 times, including once by none other than President Obama!!!  👍

How about a few noteworthy wins for the LGBTQ community over the past year:  South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg was praised for celebrating his presidential run with his husband; Taiwan legalized same-sex marriage; GLAAD’s annual Studio Responsibility Index found a 5.4 percent uptick in characters identified as LGBTQ in films from major studios; Vice’s Broadly created a free, gender-inclusive stock photo library; the US elected its first lesbian Native American ex-MMA fighter to Congress; a GLAAD report found a “record high percentage of LGBTQ characters on broadcast TV;” and Queer Eye was renewed for not one but TWO more seasons. 👍 👍 👍 👍 👍

CNN has done a nice piece highlighting six LGBTQ activists:  Billie Jean King, Harvey Milk, Marsha P. Johnson, Audre Lorde, Larry Kramer, and RuPaul Charles.  Of these, I had only heard of the first two, but the piece is well worth a read, for these six people have been key players in the fight for LGBTQ rights.  And on a personal note, if you have never seen the film Milk, starring Sean Penn, now is the time.  I am not a fan of Mr. Penn, but I saw this movie several years ago, and … I promise you will love Harvey Milk, and you will need a box of tissues.  At least check it out, and also the piece by CNN.    👍

Pride Month is not only celebrated in the U.S., but ‘round the world.  Here are a few of the international celebrations …Pride-month-Zurich.jpgZurich Pride Festival, Switzerland (June 14 -15): This Pride actually lasts two weeks, from June 1 to 16th, culminating in Switzerland’s largest city’s Pride Festival, a weekend of concerts, vendors, dance parties, and a parade. This year’s theme is Strength in Diversity.

Pride-month-Sao-Paolo.jpgSao Paulo Pride Parade, Brazil (June 23): The first Sao Paulo Pride Parade took place in 1997 when 2,000 LGBTQ activists gathered to celebrate their culture and protest against discrimination. The event has since become the largest Pride Parade in the world, with 5 million attendants in 2017.

Pride-month-Cologne.jpgCologne Pride Parade, Germany: Every year on the first weekend of July, Cologne holds a Christopher Street Day celebration, named for the New York neighborhood where the Pride movement began. The weekend features a street festival, political events, AIDS gala, and stage performances, culminating in a parade with over a million attendees and participants.

Pride-month-San-Francisco.jpgOutFest, Los Angeles: Every July, Los Angeles hosts one of the world’s largest LGBTQ film festivals, screening movies that share LGBTQ stories and highlight queer filmmakers. OutFest has recently placed the spotlight on underrepresented voices, featuring more directors that are women, trans, and people of color.

Pride-month-women-building.jpgThe Women’s Building in San Francisco has housed a variety of community organizations, including a food bank and a street youth group. It’s where a memorial service was held for Harvey Milk, the first openly gay member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, who was assassinated in 1978.

Pride-month-Amsterdam.jpgCanal Pride Festival, Amsterdam: Pride in the Dutch capital is as amazing as you’d expect from the home of the Red Light District and the first country to legalize gay marriage. Milkshake Festival, an outdoor dance festival dedicated to inclusivity and acceptance, kicks off the opening weekend of Canal Pride. As the week continues, there are street parties, a Drag Queen Olympics, and a unique Pride Parade that floats down the city’s canals.

There is much, much more I could write, but time and space are limited.  Sadly, in this, the 21st century, LBGTQ people, like women, Latinos, African-Americans, Muslims and others are seeing an uptick in discrimination, in the bigotry that has no logical explanation.  It’s been a long hard fight, progress was being made, and suddenly some element in our society decided that they are, somehow, superior.  They are not.  ‘Nuff said.

To all my friends who are part of the LGBTQ community … HUGE hugs and I love you all!!!

*  I included a link to ‘Part I’, as there was some mix-up on the scheduling and some of you who get my posts via email may not have been able to access the post.

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Saturday Surprise — Pride Month – Part I

I was actually planning to skip Saturday Surprise again this week, but a glance at the calendar reminds me that June is almost over, and what I planned to do from the beginning of the month, has as yet gone undone. Pride-month-3June is Pride Month, a month dedicated to recognizing the impact LGBTQ people have had in the world.  I see Pride Month in much the same way I see February’s Black History Month.  It is a way to honour or commemorate those who rarely receive the recognition they deserve, and are often discriminated against, simply because they are LGBTQ, or black, in the case of Black History Month.  A bit of history …

The Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, was owned by the Genovese crime family, and in 1966, three members of the Genovese family invested $3,500 to turn the Stonewall Inn into a gay bar, after it had been a restaurant and a nightclub for heterosexuals. Once a week a police officer would collect envelopes of cash as a payoff, as the Stonewall Inn had no liquor license and thus was operating outside the law.  It was the only bar for gay men in New York City where dancing was allowed; dancing was its main draw since its re-opening as a gay club.

At 1:20 a.m. on Saturday, June 28, 1969, four plainclothes policemen in dark suits, two patrol officers in uniform, and Detective Charles Smythe and Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine arrived at the Stonewall Inn’s double doors and announced “Police! We’re taking the place!”  Approximately 205 people were in the bar that night. Patrons who had never experienced a police raid were confused. A few who realized what was happening began to run for doors and windows in the bathrooms, but police barred the doors.

Standard procedure was to line up the patrons, check their identification, and have female police officers take customers dressed as women to the bathroom to verify their sex, upon which any men dressed as women would be arrested. Those dressed as women that night refused to go with the officers. Men in line began to refuse to produce their identification. The police decided to take everyone present to the police station, after separating those cross-dressing in a room in the back of the bar.

Long story short, a few patrons were released before the patrol wagons arrived to cart the rest off to jail, and those few stayed out front, attracted quite a large crowd, mostly LGBT people, and after an officer hit a woman over the head for saying her handcuffs were too tight, the crowd went into fight mode.  By this time, the police were outnumbered by some 600 people.  Garbage cans, garbage, bottles, rocks, and bricks were hurled at the building, breaking the windows.  The mob lit garbage on fire and stuffed it through the broken windows.  Police tried to use water hoses to disperse the crowd, but there was no water pressure.  Police pulled their weapons, but before they could fire them, the Tactical Patrol Force and firefighters arrived.  The crowd mocked and fought against the police, who began swinging their batons right and left, not much caring who they hit or where.

The crowd was cleared by 4:00 a.m., but the mood remained dark, and the next night, rioting resumed with thousands of people showing up at the Stonewall, blocking the streets.  Police responded, and again it was 4:00 a.m. before the mob was cleared.

There comes a point when people who are mistreated, abused, discriminated against, have had enough.  It is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, and the police raid on the Stonewall Inn, the treatment of people who were only out to enjoy the night, was that straw.  It was a history making night, not only for the LGBTQ community, but for the nation.pride-month-stonewall.jpgWithin six months of the Stonewall riots, activists started a citywide newspaper called Gay; they considered it necessary because the most liberal publication in the city—The Village Voice—refused to print the word “gay”.  Two other newspapers were initiated within a six-week period: Come Out! and Gay Power; the readership of these three periodicals quickly climbed to between 20,000 and 25,000.  Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) was formed with a constitution that began …

“We as liberated homosexual activists demand the freedom for expression of our dignity and value as human beings.”

I think that says it all, don’t you?  ‘Dignity and value as human beings’.  It is, in my book, a crying shame that our society needs to be reminded that we are all human beings, that we all have value and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

Christopher Street Liberation Day on June 28, 1970 marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots with an assembly on Christopher Street; with simultaneous Gay Pride marches in Los Angeles and Chicago, these were the first Gay Pride marches in U.S. history. The next year, Gay Pride marches took place in Boston, Dallas, Milwaukee, London, Paris, West Berlin, and Stockholm.  The Stonewall riots are considered the birth of the gay liberation movement and of gay pride on a massive scale.  The event has been likened to the Boston Tea Party, and Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of the bus.  All of those were people’s way of saying, “We’ve had enough!”

This year marks the 50 year anniversary of the Stonewall Inn raid and ensuing riots, and at long last, the New York City Police Department apologized to the LGBTQ community.  “The actions taken by the NYPD [at Stonewall] were wrong, plain and simple,” police commissioner James O’Neill said.  He also noted that the frequent harassment of LGBTQ men and women and laws that prohibited same-sex sexual relations are “discriminatory and oppressive” and apologized on behalf of the department.

President Bill Clinton first declared June to be National Pride Month in 1999, and again in 2000.  On June 1, 2001, President George W. Bush announced that the White House would not formally recognize Pride Month.  Every year that President Barack Obama was in office, he declared June to be LGBT Pride Month.  Donald Trump ignored it in 2017 and 2018, but acknowledged Pride Month this year, but only via tweet, and he blocked the display of the Pride flag at all U.S. embassies.

I had no intention of turning this post into a history lesson!  I wanted to use it to highlight some of the celebrations, the fun ways that people celebrate pride month, the people and organizations that are supporting Pride Month, and to honour the LGBTQ community, but I felt the history was important also, so … this will be Part I, and Part II will follow.  Stay tuned!

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