June 11 2018

Pride Month began as a result of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, with queer and trans people of color people being at the frontline of it all, fighting against police brutality and discrimination. This riot was a catalyst for the LGBTQ+ movement and while it is still celebrated to this day, I feel as though we forgot how it all started and what it truly means. So many of our queer and trans siblings have struggled and fought for our lives to be recognized and for us to even exist. Pride Month to me is a way for the LGBTQ+ community to say, “We are still here, we are queer, and we are proud!”.

There is so much weight that comes with our hxstory and as a queer Latinx person, I want to remember the first activists of that riot: Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. We need to remember their names. These courageous trans women of color stood up and fought back against inequality and social injustices by putting themselves out on the line. We honor them by continuing the work through organizing in our communities and making spaces for ourselves.

As a member of the community, I believe it is our duty to create safer spaces and also educate ourselves on how to be allies. Even within our LGBTQ+ community, it is important for us to become allies to each other and support one another. Our queer and trans identities are only one part of who we are. We also carry our other identities and by acknowledging the fact that we are all intersectional beings and deserve to be loved and accepted, we come closer to a united community. To be an ally, it means that we are constantly working on including everyone in our community. To make sure we have trans visibility, spaces for people of color to gather and talk about racial inequality and organizing events that raise awareness and show solidarity.

As allies, we need to continue to hold spaces where we have hard conversations such as these and make sure we are validating each other’s identities.

It is also crucial that we invest in our youth and allow them to self-identify and support their overall health and wellness.

We also need to hold schools accountable in updating their discrimination policies and taking appropriate action when harassment or bullying occurs. It is also critical for teachers to be competent in LGBTQ+ best practices and enforce inclusive curriculum for hxstory and health.

Our Gente’s goal is to educate service providers and community members in order to help us become visible, heard, and accepted.

The California Endowment has been a huge support for movements led by queer and trans folks and I hope that it continues to be a priority. As we support each other, we are making cultural changes and welcoming a culture of love and acceptance. Pride Month is to remember who has fought for that and to remind us that we must continue.

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