Today is the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a catalyst for the LGBTQ rights movement, and Pride parades take place across the country to celebrate. On June 28, 1969, police raided a gay bar in New York, sparking the Stone Wall Riots that were largely led by LGBTQ people of color and trans women (who remain among the most marginalized today ). This incident sparked nationwide protests in support of equal rights.
While progress has been made, such as the 2020 Supreme Court ruling that a 1964 civil rights law protects LGBTQ+ workers from discrimination and the landmark 2015 SCOTUS decision Obergefell v Hodges, which gay marriage legalized in all 50 states, the recent Roe v Wade decision that overturned 50 years of precedent protecting women’s right to access abortion could impact on other rights for the LGBTQ community. For example, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Clarence Thomas wrote in a solo concurring opinion to cancel the right to abortion that SCOTUS “should reconsider all substantive due process precedents of this Court, including…Obergefell”, also stating, “We have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in these precedents”.
If SCOTUS continues to roll back federal protection of rights previously deemed protected by the 9th and 14th amendments and instead leaves them to individual states to determine, it is up to sstate and local legislators to protect these rights for their constituents. The Victory Institutea national organization of openly LGBTQ leaders working to advance equality at all levels of government, reports a 16% increase in the number of LGBTQ candidates running for Congress compared to 2020. While only 0.2% of elected identify as LGBTQ, a recent Gallup poll finds that the community represents 7.1% of the population.
Annise Parker, president and CEO of the Victory Institute and former mayor of Houston, said in a press release“LGBTQ people have always been disenfranchised from government positions and this new data reveals the need to continue to build momentum behind the rainbow wave until we achieve parity. Fair representation does not cannot just be an aspiration, it must be a reality.Our rights depend on it.
On the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that amplified the fight for equality, here are some words of wisdom from LGBTQ representatives past and present on the power of representation.
Have a seat at the table…
“People… see our country and our states moving towards full equality in many ways. When you have legislative bodies that are more like America, that happens.
Senator Tammy BaldwinWisconsin’s first woman and first openly gay politician elected to the US Senate in 2012
“We haven’t made progress until we all have made progress. I have no room in my heart for hate, and frankly I have no time for intolerance. My my heart is full of a burning desire to help people, and my time is full working to protect the public health of everyone in Pennsylvania. I will remain focused on that goal.
Admiral Rachel Levinformer Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, currently Assistant Secretary of Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the first openly transgender federal public servant in the country’s history
To be a civil servant…
“Look, this job certainly didn’t make sense in terms of maximizing my income or minimizing my stress or maximizing the comfort of my life. I think it’s a great job because I am able to work to bring about fundamental changes in society and improve people’s quality of life and eliminate and decrease injustices at various times.
Barney Frank, former U.S. Representative who became the first member of Congress to voluntarily come out as gay in 1987 and, in July 2012, became the first member of Congress to marry someone of the same sex while in office
In pursuit of potential…
“All young people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to realize their full potential.”
“When there is less discrimination for the most marginalized in our society, there is much more equality for everyone in our society.”
Andrea JenkinsMinneapolis City Council President and first openly transgender black woman elected to public office in the United States
Be a role model…
“What I hope is that young people can dream big and dream bigger than before, seeing me here.”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierrethe first black and openly gay publicist