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Every June, LGBTQ+ people and allies come together to celebrate the lives and contributions of the community. This year, Pride Month parades and festivals have been replaced with protests and marches.
Across the nation, Pride in 2020 has looked more like it did in 1969 when the initiative began. The gatherings began as a call for justice and an end to police brutality after a series of dangerous police raids at the Stonewall Inn, a notorious gay club in New York City.
“The black community needs to be liberated at this time but certainly during Pride Month,” said an organizer from Austin who marched in San Antonio.
Black Lives Matter marches in San Antonio morphed into “All Black Lives Matter” marches to shine a light on the issues transgender people of color face daily, mirroring movements across the country.
“Black queer lives are Black lives. If we’re gonna talk about Black lives mattering, we need to talk about all Black lives,” the organizer said.
The organizer explained why a big part of these marches are focused on transgender women of color.
“Black trans women have the lowest life expectancy in the United States. And the violence against Black queer folk is rampant in the United States,” the organizer said.
This Pride Month has been bittersweet for the community as they continue fighting for basic human rights.
“It’s 2020 and nothing has changed,” said Trisdon Mays, another organizer of local marches. “[There’s] still discrimination against Black people. [There’s] still discrimination against gay people.”
With national news of two Black transgender women killed in Philadelphia and Ohio, and the Health and Human services rollback on health care provisions for transgender people, many found it hard to celebrate a big win out of the Supreme Court on June 15. A 6-3 vote determined ruled that a 1964 civil court decision barring workplace discrimination for various reasons, including race and gender, must also extend to sexual orientation and identity.
These are the kind of rights Equality Texas work toward. CEO Ricardo Martinez said he wasn’t exactly quick to celebrate.
“Part of me just wasn’t necessarily expecting good news. I was happily surprised, but like very many people, I’m still recovering from that mournful Friday,” he said.
Martinez said there is still lots of work that needs to be done, which is why many are taking to the streets calling for change this Pride Month.
“Someone can discriminate on me right now based on my perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Although I’m protected at work, that is just one component of my life. We’ve been trying to defend our humanity for a really long time, and it’s exhausting, but we’re going to continue to make sure that, regardless of where I am, I am fully protected and I don’t have to compromise any part of me to obtain the rights that everybody else has,” Martinez said.