Pride Month: Remembering all that has been won and lost


Miko Miwa

#LoveTravels float at the D.C. pride parade

Miko Miwa

June is LGBT+ pride month, and with it comes a multitude of events full of celebration and remembrance.

On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending my first Pride parade in Washington D.C. It was hot, messy, and crowded, but it was also extremely spirited. There was so much love in the atmosphere and Dupont Circle (where my friend and I chose to view the parade) practically buzzed with energy.

Everyone was smiling and it felt like a chance for the LGBT+ community to let go of the worries that plague us. For one day we could ignore the danger and fear, and simply be happy about who we are. Even the Christians who came preaching with their signs and aggressive attitudes couldn’t kill our good mood, especially when their words were shut down by the multitude of churches who came to be part of the parade and show their support.

Pride month isn’t only for celebrations though; it’s also filled with historic events that had large impacts on the LGBT+ community.

One of the earliest and most influential moments was the start of the Stonewall riots on June 28, 1969, which sparked the beginning of LGBT+ resistance against institutional homophobia and transphobia. Exactly one year later the first pride marches occurred in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in order to honor the riots and their impact.

More recent events include the federal legalization of same sex marriage in the United States (June 26, 2015), and the lifting of a ban that prohibited United States service members who are transgender from serving (June 30, 2016).

However, not all of pride month is a time of progression. The mass murder of 49 people along with the injuring of 58 others at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, occurred on June 12, 2016 during the club’s Latin night. Not only was it the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States, but it told the U.S.  that despite the progress that has been made, LGBT+ people are still in danger from hate crimes.

The tragedy at Pulse also reminds us that there are millions of allies within the U.S. who are willing to stand up to those who terrorize the LGBT+ community and support us when we are in need. Sure, hateful people, both ordinary citizens and powerful, exist and will most likely never stop. But, as time goes by and the existence of LGBT individuals becomes more normalized and accepted, our lives become safer and our fear turns into a pride.