by Judy Bokao
In June 1969, an uprising was launched and it paved the way for a new era of revolution and LGBTQIA+ activism. The Stonewall riots were a significant moment in the LGBTQIA+ community. It inspired the formation of numerous gay rights organizations including the Human Rights Campaign and OutRage. Thanks to those brave individuals, LGBTQIA+ people now have more freedoms and have recognized rights. The riots inspired people to stand up as one and join the fight and resist harassment for decades.
It has been a long journey, but the legacy still lives on and we celebrate it every June as Pride month. Now more than ever we need to celebrate and own our queerness collectively because as much as things have changed, some still remain the same. Oppression and harassment of LGBTQIA+ individuals is still real and visible in people’s day to day lives. There is still so much awareness that needs to be done and it is up to us to ensure we still keep fighting for things to get better.
Lately, the transgender community is still struggling to simply survive. According to Human Rights Campaign, at least 28 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been killed in 2021. The rate of violence against transgender women, especially those of color, continues to rise at an alarming rate and justice for the victims continues to be elusive. The LGBTQIA+ community is still in a battle trying to address racism and trans-rights. Pride month allows an opportunity to show support and solidarity for our trans colleagues.
Pride month helps to remind us of the battles we still have to fight. It gives us a chance to come together as a diverse community and plan how to go on with the fight for equality and justice. The LGBTQIA+ community still faces inequities when accessing healthcare services and clinical outcomes. Mental health among LGBTQIA+ people is worsening, especially now that we are going through a global pandemic. In reality, the LGBTQIA+ community still has a lot of issues to face in different sectors of life.
As a community, Pride month is a reminder that we are not alone and the LGBTQIA+ community may be a minority but we are still champions for equality and justice. As much as we are from different parts of the world, we all face the same challenges and in our own ways we are working on overcoming them. Pride month gives us an opportunity to call for more and to remind us we can do better.
It also allows us to celebrate and be proud of ourselves as who we truly are and acknowledge our wins in this fight for LGBTQIA+ rights. It allows us to pat ourselves on the shoulders and motivates us to increase our efforts. Pride month is a celebration of the excellent work and achievements we have fought tooth and nail to achieve.
This year, Pride month may not be a vibrant and dynamic celebration. Due to the pandemic, we may not get to march with our colorful flags and party, but we still should celebrate our diverse community. We have earned the right to celebrate Pride. We might have to do it differently, but the spirit to fight still burns in all of us.
About the Author:
Judy Bokao is 20 years old and was born in Ethiopia but relocated to Nairobi two years ago. She is passionate about everyone having equal rights and is also big on conservation and speaking up for our planet. Judy loves reading and photography and is just a free-spirited young lady trying to grow into a woman her mom can be proud of.