It’s June again, when the days get longer and the gardens are blooming. It’s a time for sunshine, BBQ, and, for many in the US, a time to march with pride in their local LGBTQ parade. The last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as ‘Gay Pride Day,’ but in major cities across the nation the ‘day’ soon grew to encompass a month-long series of events. The NYC Pride March will begin at noon on June 25th from 25th Street and 5th Avenue. Grand Marshals Billy Porter, Yasmin Benoit, AC Dumlao, Hope Giselle and Randolfe “Randy” Wicker will head this year’s celebration, with Angelica Ross returning for a third year as co-host and featured performer of the broadcast special on ABC-7.
Pride month in NY is out and loud, celebrated with joy and good humor. But that is not the case in every state. This year there has been a backlash against gay and transgender rights, resulting in some companies and municipalities scaling back their products and celebrations. NPR reported that Target is removing some merchandise celebrating Pride Month from store shelves after facing a backlash against the products, including threats against the safety of its workers. “The retail giant said in a statement posted on its website Wednesday that it was committed to celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community but was withdrawing some items over threats that were “impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being” on the job.” In other news, Starbucks workers’ union accused the company on Tuesday of banning decorations for LGBTQ Pride Month.The group, Starbucks Workers United, is alleging that the company’s corporate management has been asking its workers in at least 21 states to take down Pride decorations over the last two weeks, a claim that the company denies.”
To my mind, all of this highlights both how fragile ANY of our civil rights can be, and how important it is to speak up, support these communities, and let them, and those who would strip away their rights, know that they have allies. We can show support in a variety of ways, from writing to a Congressman to buying Pride merchandise to reward those companies that promote equality. We can attend a drag queen book reading, or fly the rainbow flag. Where I live, our condo association bans flags, political signs, or decorative banners of any kind, so I had to find a work around. My Pride rainbow is in the flowers on my front steps, which make me smile every day.