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Remembering Stonewall, celebrating Pride

By | 2018-01-15T22:51:42-05:00 June 26th, 2008|Uncategorized|

On June 28, LGBT people from across the state will celebrate Michigan Pride. We will play games. We will enjoy bands. We will buy rainbow necklaces and gay pride buttons. But we shouldn’t forget.
On June 28, 1969, the New York City Police’s raid on the Stonewall Inn caused an outburst of rioting and the upstart of what has become the gay rights movement.
We’ve come a long way, and we should be happy for that – even in Michigan. Our community is free to celebrate Pride, to frequent whatever bars they please and to love whoever they want to love. But we shouldn’t forget.
We shouldn’t forget that there are still no laws protecting LGBT youth from being bullied, harassed and insulted in schools. That we still have no major protections from discrimination. That we can’t marry, we can’t share our health benefits and that legally, we are often invisible.
We shouldn’t forget that two women could still go to a doctor looking for a checkup at Spectrum Health Care and instead receiving a lecture on the immorality of their lifestyle. We shouldn’t forget that supposed “community” organizations like the YMCA can tell us that we aren’t a part of their community, and that for one of their employees to accept our families as their families is a mistake. We shouldn’t forget that Jeremy Waggoner, a hairdresser from Detroit, was murdered, and that a teenage girl was beaten for believing in equality. In our state. The same state that claims we don’t need Matt’s Safe Schools Law to protect our kids or stronger anti-discrimination laws to protect ourselves.
On June 28, cherish what we have and keep in mind what we don’t. Put it at the forefront of your brain as you join the march to the state capital. We won’t throw bottles or start fires like the men and women of Stonewall. But, like them, and in their honor, we will demand the protection, rights and respect that we deserve. Don’t ask. Demand.
Michigan lives in a perilous, dichotic world. When attending a Pride event, it looks as though our LGBT community is content, happy and not at all frightened of someone insulting or hurting us. Yet our laws tell a completely different story; one that tells gays and lesbians exactly what they can’t have, but others can.
Pride is a time for celebration, but also for reflection. On June 28, we will join thousands of other people across the country who will march for equality to honor and remember the Stonewall Rebellion.
And when that’s done, we won’t be. The pride month is almost at its end, but we’ll keep celebrating and calling out for equal rights long after that. But if you can’t fight every day, we at least urge you to come out on June 28 to march to the capital to show that we haven’t forgotten what we don’t have, and that we want it now.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.