June events in the tri-state area celebrating our LGBTQ+ community should be a source of Pride.
More than five decades after the Stonewall riots in New York City, when men and women fought back against police attempting to arrest them simply for patronizing a gay bar, our world has changed dramatically.
The riots that followed the police raid on June 28, 1969, marked a seminal moment in the history of U.S. civil rights. One year later, the event was marked with the first gay pride marches in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The celebrants in Manhattan marched nearly 5,000 strong.
In 2019, the gay pride event in New York to mark 50 years since the uprising grew 1,000-fold with 5 million participants.
The evolution of acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community has seen a sea change in recent years.
In 2003, some 58% of Americans opposed gay marriage while 33% supported it. A similar poll in 2013 showed a swing to 49% in support of gay marriage. The change in opinion on same-sex marriage over that decade marked one of the largest swings of public opinion on any policy issue in recent years, research showed. By the fall of 2020, polling showed 70% of Americans supported gay marriage. Among millennials or younger, the percentage of supporters is even higher.
Iowa became a trailblazer in gay civil rights when a unanimous Iowa Supreme Court ruling legalized gay marriage in 2009. Initially, opposition to the ruling was loud and fierce. Three Supreme Court justices up for retention in 2010 lost their jobs. Yet, in the years that followed, most Iowans began to admit that gay marriage had little impact on their lives one way or another.
For Iowans who identify as LGBTQ+, however, that ruling was part of an evolution to a place of finally being seen and recognized. In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide. Now, it’s up to all Americans to continue that evolution.
That’s what June Pride events are all about. Parades, picnics, marches and concerts will celebrate the freedom for each of us to be who we are meant to be at our core without shame or fear of reprisal.
The LGBTQ+ community is our community. They are our coworkers, our family members, our neighbors.
They are us.
Every group that has been maligned and discriminated against throughout history bears the scars and wounds of that battle. This month, we recognize the history the LGBTQ+ community has endured, and we celebrate the monumental strides that have been made.