June is LGBT Pride Month!

By Eric Nguyen

In 1969, spontaneous demonstrations against police took place at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village; later known as the Stonewall Riots. In 1970 the first Gay Liberation Day March was held in the New York City, while Los Angeles had the first pride parade. 1981—to be precise June 18, 1981—saw the first official case of AIDS. In 1994, the American Medical Association declared that homosexuality was no longer a disease. In 2010, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is repealed, and the first patient is cured of AIDS thanks to years of stem cell research. In 2011, President Obama refuses to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act and declares June as Pride month.

LGBT rights have come a long way. If there is ever a time for the LGBT community to celebrate, it is now. Pride Month does just that. Every summer, across the country, LGBT people and allies gather to celebrate an ever growing society of acceptance with music, food, and the occasional drag queen performance (not to mention parades, singing competitions, and Jell-O wrestling!). Indeed, as a recent poll shows, more than ever, people are accepting marriage equality.

But despite all this, there’s more work to be done. This May, the Tennessee Senate passed the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” Bill, which would prevent teachers in kindergarten through eighth grade from discussing sexuality—thereby silencing LGBT youth. Last week, comedian Tracy Morgan went on an anti-gay rant, going as far as condoning anti-LGBT violence. Meanwhile, marriage rights are still being denied across the country to thousands of loving couples, and in nearly 20 states, it is still legal for employers to fire workers based on sexual orientation and gender identity, though most people don’t know this.

Humanists are an integral part of the fight for equality. As nonbelievers, we have no reason to discriminate. Indeed, humanism is one of the few life stances that doesn’t have to change its texts to accept queer people. LGBT issues are humanist issues.

Additionally, we have no reason not to join in the festivities of Pride. Check out the pictures for last Sunday’s Capital Pride celebration in Washington DC below. I hope you will make plans to join in your local Pride celebrations!

Eric Nguyen is the field coordinator for the American Humanist Association.