Pride Month began as a protest against police brutality when police raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village in New York, a gay bar, on June 28, 1969. President Clinton issued a formal proclamation in June 1999 recognizing the month of June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Restaurants and bars in neighborhoods throughout D.C. decorate and celebrate Pride Month. (Alicia Butler-Adams/The Washington Informer)
Pride Month began as a protest against police brutality when police raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village in New York, a gay bar, on June 28, 1969. President Clinton issued a formal proclamation in June 1999 recognizing the month of June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Restaurants and bars in neighborhoods throughout D.C. decorate and celebrate Pride Month. (Alicia Butler-Adams/The Washington Informer)

D.C. Capital Pride Month has returned after a two-year cancellation of most activities because of the coronavirus-related restrictions. Things have already kicked off with a host of events sponsored by the Capital Pride Alliance including poetry slams, dance parties and drag shows. 

Hundreds, if not thousands, of members of the LGBTQ+ will be out in “rainbow force” this weekend when the celebration culminates with the highly-popular Pride Parade on Saturday, June 11 and a festival and concert on Sunday, June 12. 

But while it’s important to allow all members of the human family to safely and openly express pride for being themselves, many fear that the hard-fought and hard-won gains secured by the LGBTQ+ community could be lost without the law on their side. 

And that’s why there’s a growing sense of urgency and anxiety among those who live these “alternative lifestyle.” 

Since the days of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gay, lesbian and bisexual service members, instituted during the Clinton Administration, which for 17 years sent a message that discrimination was acceptable, America has moved ahead, allowing both gay marriage and the adoption of children by gays and lesbians. 

But things have not been as easy for transgender adults or youth. 

Those in prison often face being placed in cells that force them to be housed with those whose gender conforms with that of their birth rather than their chosen gender. 

As for children, transgender youth in public schools face ridicule and fear as they’re often denied the right to use bathrooms more appropriate for their needs. 

Further, with the rapid, nationwide surge of book banning initiatives that prohibit the inclusion of materials which include “controversial” topics like gay rights or gay identity, and legislation in states like Florida that regulate school lessons about sexual orientation and gender identity, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill as it’s often called, it appears that pride in America is only tolerated when it’s comfortable for those who hold the cards. 

It’s great to talk about pride. But that’s not enough. 

We must ensure that the law guarantees all Americans the ability to live, work and play without the fear or possibility of being stripped of that pride and their right for full equality. 

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