June 28, 1969, might not be a familiar date for most people. It is, however, an important date for the LGBTQ+ community that should be remembered by all.
During the 50s and 60s, few establishments welcomed gay people. The Stonewall Inn, located in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, NY, was one of the few places catering to marginalized people and the poor. In the 60s, it wasn't uncommon to see police raid gay bars, but on this day, police lost control of the situation at the Stonewall Inn, and a riot broke out.
The beginning of the gay liberation movement
The gay community was not having any more of those unjust raids against them. Many riots persisted several days after and numerous gay rights organizations arose after the Stonewall Riot. This tragic moment was the most crucial event that led up to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LBGTQ+ rights in the United States.
10 years later, the first gay pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to commemorate the Stonewall Riots. Every year, Pride Month is celebrated in June around the world to remember the fight for injustice and proclaim one's differences.
And the fight for civil rights and equality continues. Most recently, on June 15, 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled that a landmark civil rights law from 1964 protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination, a long-sought for victory in the LGBTQ+ movement.
As a straight person, this is how you can help
So, why is this important for our fellow straight compatriot to support? Because this movement is to remember the adversity that still exists today among gay people. Alongside walking in Pride parades, there are more things that allies, cisgender and straight people can do to support their gay friends and families.
As a LGBTQ+ supporter, you can reach out to organizations that help the gay community and see what events they are promoting and possibly co-sponsor one or volunteer your services to show your support. You could speak to a representative at your local city hall and insist that they support bills that affect the gay community.
Being gay is not a walk in the park for most of the community. Some experience verbal, physical, and mental abuse and may not have anywhere to go. Some LGBTQ+ individuals in rural areas may not have the financial backing to get up and find a place to live, but they leave their situation and resort to living on the street to avoid the abuse at home.
Expanding our way of thinking, when it comes to supporting the gay community, is something to consider. If you have the means to donate some money through a GoFundMe for a member of the gay community, you could potentially be helping them get out of a terrible situation that you will never have to experience due to your sexual orientation.
A step in the right direction
Empathizing with friends and family that are gay is a step in the right direction. Taking action to help them is even better. Even if you don't personally know someone that is gay, bisexual, non-binary, or transgender, that doesn't mean that you can't be supportive.
There are plenty of organizations and resources across the country that could use donations to help the LGBTQ+ community. A proactive effort is something that we could all collectively do to uplift those we should be supporting. After all, we're all human, and we all deserve equal rights despite our sexual orientation or gender identification.