June means many things to many people. For lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people, June means Pride Month, when many of the world’s Pride festivals and parades occur to commemorate the June 1969 Stonewall Riots, largely considered the start of the LGBTQ rights movement.
Summer of Love
This particular June there is a lot to celebrate and quite a bit to anticipate. A little over a week ago, Ireland became the first country in the world to vote yes for equal same-sex marriage rights, which means over 1.2 million Irish citizens voted in favor of protecting marriage for same-sex people in their constitution! Many flew home for the historic vote, which attracted over 60 percent voter participation. Ireland is the twentieth country in the world to have equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.
By the end of this month, the United States may join that list as the twenty-first country to make marriage equality the law of land. Just two years ago, the US Supreme Court decided in United States v. Windsor that the federal Defense of Marriage Act’s limitation of marriage to heterosexual couples was unconstitutional, which meant the federal government had to recognize legally performed same-sex marriages. By the end of this month, we will find out if the Court will take the next step and declare that no state can deny marriage (and all the rights conferred through it) solely because the couple is same-sex.
Gaining equal rights for same-sex couples in the area of marriage in the US will be an amazing achievement. I was lucky enough to legally marry my longtime partner a year ago in my home state of Minnesota. There are many other areas left where work needs to be done.
One organization doing significant work for LGBTQ rights is the National LGBTQ Task Force. The issue that needs our attention now is transgender rights, which the Task Force is supporting through two main projects. The first is the “Transgender Civil Rights Project,” which works to raise awareness and to change laws across the country to be more trans* inclusive. The other is “Stop Trans Murders.” With statistics from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence programs as alarming as “72 percent of hate crimes against LGBTQ people were against trans women, 90 percent of whom were transgender women of color,” we need to take immediate action.
Finally, organizations like the National LGBTQ Task Force need to hear from humanists about how to expand the vision for an inclusive world. Their project, “Participate in Our Tomorrow,” gives humanists a chance to bring their voices to the next big areas that need support.
This Pride Month we have a lot to celebrate and a lot more to do in the world to support equal rights for LGBTQ people. I’m excited to celebrate and even more excited to build community and further advance equal rights together as humanists.
How Are You Celebrating?
How is your local humanist group celebrating Pride? The LGBTQ Humanist Council would love to hear your stories and share your pictures! Send them to Kevin Jagoe, LGBTQ Council Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.