Honoring LGBT Activists Throughout History #PrideMonth

Honoring LGBT Activists Throughout History #PrideMonth

Anytime is a good time to celebrate yourself and all of the wonderful things that make you unique. #PrideMonth is specifically set aside for everyone to celebrate along with you. Acceptance of the differences between us that make us unique is the premise of Pride Month, and with that in mind, we would like to honor the trailblazers that helped make it a reality. We have put together a list of important figures and activists in LGBTQ+ history to remember their contributions and the lasting impact they have created in society.

Alice Nkom

https://africandefenders.org/alice-nkom/

Alice Nkom is a lawyer that specializes in human rights in addition to being an active LGBTQ activist and ally. She is from Cameroon where it is still against the law to practice homosexuality. In fact, it is still criminalized in the country. Beatings, police entrapment, and worse are regular practices that she has been working to defeat for decades. Although she is not part of the LGBTQ community, she firmly believes and advocates for the rights of those in the LGBTQ. In 2003 she founded the Association for the Defence of Homosexuality to help further her cause and also give those in the community a place to seek help when in need.

Josephine Baker

https://historyofyesterday.com/the-glorious-and-passionate-life-of-josephine-baker-48d6d51e3e3a

Many people may remember Josephine Baker as a world-class entertainer or even as a French spy. While both are true, she was also one of the most well-known African-American performers who was also openly bisexual. She never shied away from embracing her true self and she used her fame and position to advocate for gay rights and desegregation. She performed in a range of venues and always made her thoughts and feelings known. While this may seem simple in modern times, in the mid-1900s, the world was not as accepting of people of color or those who were of the LGBTQ+ community.

Sylvia Rivera

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/forgotten-latina-trailblazer-lgbt-activist-sylvia-rivera-n438586

The LGBTQ+ community has many members, but one of the most vocal but often overlooked from the past is Sylvia Rivera. This Latina has been a staunch trans activist regardless of how other people felt about it. Sylvia and Marsha P. Johnson went on to create Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to offering services such as housing, healthcare, and more to homeless LGBTQ+ youth in New York.

Marsha P. Johnson

https://www.tatler.com/article/who-is-marsha-p-johnson-drag-queen-gay-activist

Marsha P. Johnson is one of the most prolific names of the LGBT movement, but she was also a great person on her own. She was well known as a model for Andy Warhol in addition to being a sex worker, drag queen, and an outspoken activist. As a trans, queer, African American, she faces a lot of challenges in her life. However, she always advocated for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, including her own. She always said there is no reason to have parades unless all gay citizens have basic rights in America. In fact, she was one of the driving forces behind the gay rights movement in 1960. Many believe that she is the force and the catalyst behind Pride’s marches, and although she met with a tragic end, her efforts have borne fruit today.

Laverne Cox

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laverne_Cox

Laverne Cox is a talented performer known for her role in Orange Is the New Black. Cox has been an avid supporter of LGBTQ+ communities and has always used her fame to promote equality in healthcare. As the first African American Trans individual to secure an Emmy nomination, breaking barriers and advocating for rights is just a part of her rich story.

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Heinrich_Ulrichs

When it comes to the LGBTQ+ community, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs is one of the oldest trailblazers. He is one of, if not the first to come out in public and has been hailed as the founder of the current, modern gay rights movement. He was a homosexual emancipation pioneer in a time where there was little to no tolerance the world over. As a judge in Germany, he was forced to give up his position when a co-worker discovered his sexual preferences. Following his forced resignation, he turned his attention to advocating for the rights of gay people everyone. He even spoke to Congress in Germany in 1867 placing demands for equal legal and social rights for those with all sexual preferences.

Michael Dillon

https://tricycle.org/magazine/michael-dillon/

Sexual orientation and identifying as LGBTQ+ used to be the limit of a person’s expression until gender transformations were created. If it were not for Michael Dillon, transitions may not even exist today, and for that, the LGBTQ+ community is thankful. He was the first person to undergo hormone therapy and undergo phalloplasty as part of his transition. He even served in the navy as a male doctor until it was discovered that he was trans. He eventually fled to India and became a monk, but his contribution will never be forgotten.

Edith Windsor

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/obituaries/edith-windsor-remembered-as-great-pioneer-for-gay-rights/

Same-sex marriage being ruled as a constitutional right is one of the biggest wins for the community to date. None of it would have come to be without the help and support of Edith Windsor. She was engaged to her wife Thea Spyer for 40 years, whom she finally married in Canada in 2007. Following the death of her wife, Edith Windsor was taxed far beyond the norm for her deceased wife’s estate since the US didn’t recognize same-sex marriages. She took the case to court, and not only to the court, but she also took it all the way to the top. In 2013 she won her case in the Supreme Court which led to the national ruling on same-sex marriages in 2015.

Bayard Rustin

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/20/march-on-washington-bayard-rustin/2678505/

Bayard Rustin was a civil rights activist and most known for his association with Martin Luther King Jr. and the famed march on Washington in 1963. He also was an openly gay black man who constantly advocated for gay rights and equal healthcare. Many in history are unaware of just how close he and Martin Luther King Jr. were and how critical his role was in the civil rights movement due to his sexuality. Many people threatened to spread lies and filth, so he took his role to the shadows to protect his friends and help further support the civil rights movement. However, the NAACP and the LGBTQ+ community recognize his constant efforts regarding gay rights and his work bringing the AIDs epidemic to light.

Celebrating #PrideMonth All Year Long With History That Matters

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The History of Pride Month

The History of Pride Month

Source: Unsplash@mrs80z

Pride Month parties, parades, and protests have been spreading over the world since the 1970s when LGBTQ+ liberation entered the mainstream, now resulting in just over 50 years of Pride history. From the gigantic city-wide celebrations to the smallest local prom, different regions show their pride differently.

How did Pride Month become the staple movement that it is today? Consider these highlights of Pride history to better understand what it means in 2021.

The Early History of Pride Month

Source: Flickr

Pride month traces its roots, as many celebrations do, to violent stands against authority. The Stonewall Riots, and the lesser-known Compton’s Cafeteria Riot in San Francisco, mark the most well-documented early protests against LGBTQ+ harassment.

The Stonewall Riots originated a lot of the language that Pride protestors now use to spread their message. They began at the Stonewall Inn, a well-known front for the Genovese crime family that also happened to be the only gay bar in the city where dancing was allowed.

The conflict between the police, the bribes (Stonewall had no liquor license), and the tangles of Mafia ownership eventually resulted in police, no longer on the blackmail payroll, raiding the inn. 

The intense confrontation began as police arrested patrons and angry onlookers began fighting back, forcing the police to retreat. Their resistance at the inn led to a march on Central Park where the concept of “Gay Pride” was adopted as a rallying cry.

This march is often considered the proper beginning of Pride Month, as more and more people joined in from other cities to parade, celebrate, and protest, not only against this one event, but against the standards of the time that made it happen in the first place.

Pride Month Today

Source: Vox

The international organization called InterPride was founded to manage these protests throughout the world. They keep a calendar of the major events and fund organizations in dozens of major cities to carry out their marches at the allotted time.

Today, there is a huge commercial influence on Pride Month activities from many overlapping interests. Corporate logos from sponsors have been appearing on Pride banners and products with increasing frequency. Politicians and companies now also claim a stake in the events, with mega-corporations like Google running its own local Pride events. You can even buy Pride fries at McDonald’s.

The Takeaway

For many protestors, the integration of corporate and political sponsorship has taken away from the original intent of Pride Month. Many feel that “commodifying awareness” has led to rights issues being put on the back burner of an ad-driven annual event that is now as regularly commercialized as Christmas. 

This Pride Month, they urge people to remember what it actually means and what real change looks like. They hope people will continue to take a stance for what they believe in, regardless of whether it has a McDonald’s logo or not.

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Time to Celebrate

Time to Celebrate

The Playlist to kick-off Summer 2021

Everybody is saying and feeling it; this has been an unbelievable and unprecedented 20 months.  Look what we all have been experiencing; working from home, job loss, remote learning for students of all ages, long lines to get into banks, grocery stores and the motor vehicle offices, death of unarmed black men, women and children at the hands of law enforcement, shelves empty of toilet paper, paper towels and disinfectant, emptiness of our favorite bars and restaurants, missing cheers in arenas and stadiums for our favorite sports teams and musical performers, traveling for business and leisure, a capitol insurrection and family fun became extinct; compounding on this time, the extraordinary loss of life and how we mourn and send our loved ones to their new land of glory. 

This pandemic has been beyond stressful; defining our personal relationships and stretching our boundaries of mental, physical and financial health; not to mention our psychological fears.  We been through it!

To date, the CDC is reporting half of Americans have received their first vaccination shot, shots for young people as young as 12 are becoming available, the mandate for mask is loosening, gathering entertainment spots is becoming a thing again, airline travel is increasing and a mid-summer goal of first shot vaccinations for 75% of Americans is the new target.  The sun is beginning to shine again… as we begin to see some light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, we should take a moment to rejoice.  

If there is anything, we should have learned from the past two years, is not to take any of life’s joys for granted and celebrate!  Yes, celebrate every aspect of life; our families, friends, loved ones, careers, faith; let’s celebrate all the things.  Let’s take in the moments that brings us pure joy; a simple hug, a graduation ceremony, going to the movies, spending quality time with our loved ones, face to face conversations with people, young folks excelling in their extracurricular activities; we need to celebrate life at every available opportunity.  

What better way to celebrate life then the sounds of music; beats, rhymes, rhythm and vocal artistry.  

We are still in a pandemic, but it is becoming safer for us to embrace the happiness that has been missing from our lives.  As I begin my summer road trips, backyard cookouts or chilling on the front porch, I will be enjoying this playlist to celebrate and create my next memory as we move further away from this pandemic.

After 7 – Bittersweet

Alex Parchment f/ Phillip Doc Martin – Vibin’ In Time

Andra Day – Tigress & Tweed

Audrey Nuna – Space

Blossom Dearie – Blossom’s Blues

Chris Botti – The Last Three Minutes

Dixson – Kream

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Brand New Funk

Dojo Cat f/ SZA – Kiss Me More

Drake + Lil Baby – Wants and Needs

Funk Flex f/ Rowdy Rebel – Re Route

Gene Noble – Matching Tattoos

Gwen Bunn + Faith Evans – Between the Lines

H.E.R. – Fight for You

H.E.R. + Chris Brown – Come Through

Hiatus Kaiyote – Red Room

Hil St. Paul – One Life

J.D’s Time Machine + Cleveland Jones – Kiss of Freedom

James Brown – Doing It to Death

Jazmine Sullivan – Pick Up Your Feelings

Julian Vaughn f/ Donald Hayes – On Notice

KAMAUU + Adeline Masego – MANGO

Karyn White – Slow Down

Kindred The Family Soul – Break It Down

Leela James – Complicated

Lil Baby + EST Gee – Real As It Gets

Lonr. + H.E.R. – Make The Most

Loui + Saweetie – Talkin’ Bout

Maeta – Doesn’t Mean A Thing

Mary J Blige – U + Me

Paul Brown f/ Richard Elliott – Notorious

Prince – Welcome 2 America

Raheem DeVaughn – Mr. Midnight

Raiche – Pick A Side

Robert Glasper + H.E.R. + Me;Chelle Ndegeocello – Better Than I Imagined

Sevyn Streeter + Chris Brown + AS$P Ferg – Guilty

Silk Sonic – Leave The Door Open

Snoh Aalegra – Find Someone Like You

Skip Marley f/ Ari Lenox & Rick Ross – Make Me Feel

Stevie Wonder – Love Life In Flight

Tyler Dumont – You

VanJess – Slow Down

What songs will make your summertime playlist?