It’s LGBTQ+ Pride Month or Fascism16 min read

Jun 2, 2018 | In the News | 0 comments

This is what fascism looks like.

    I know I know… fascism is a terrifying word. In America we tend to think of fascism in broad strokes: the Holocaust, Cuba, Arab Spring. But it isn’t like one day everyone woke up and said, “Wow… we live in a fascist country. That’s not great.” It was a slow, whittling away of rights, of visibility and the balance of power. And to see it plain as day in the United States of America, you have no further to look than June. Since the 70’s, June has unofficially been the month for LGBTQ+ Pride (especially here in NYC), and during his administration, Barack Obama put a ring on it and made it official. What does this have to do with fascism? Well the Trump Administration has done the worst thing you can do to a marginalized population: ignore it.

  This is the second year in a row that Trump’s administration has made zero reference to June being LGBTQ+ Pride month. And I know, there are plenty out there that would say it’s a shallow thing to be concerned about and is purely superficial. We should be grateful for marriage equality, hop on our unicorns and ride back home to the land of drag queens and YAASSS. But the reality, especially for those least visible in our community, is not so fab.

“We should be grateful for marriage equality, hop on our unicorns and ride back home to the land of drag queens and YAASSS.”

As a quick refresher, June was selected as LGBTQ+ Pride month before the parade. As a matter of fact, the “parade” isn’t a parade at all, it is a march. And it is a march because in June of 1969, without the aid of cell phones and facebook group chat, thousands of queer people took to the streets several days in a row to fight the gross injustice queer people faced. Specifically, it began after a night, the last weekend in June, when police raided a prominent gay bar, the Stonewall Inn, to abuse and assault the queer patrons for no reason other than the fact that they were LGBTQ+. Men dancing with men were beaten; “transvestites” were taken to the bathroom and forced to get naked or be groped to prove their gender; anyone fighting back was thrown outside before the door was locked, trapping hundreds still inside with the abusive officers. And all of this was part of a “routine raid” that many gay establishments had gotten used to at this point. But the people that night said, “on NO henny… we will not be beaten, unless it is to the gods.” And that is when, it is rumored, a trans woman of color picked up a brick and threw it against the window, officially turning the party.

  In minutes thousands of queer people who all lived in the neighborhood (the West Village) came out and set shit on fire. Literally. They marched and raged for three straight nights to let everyone know that they were tired of being marginalized, abused, sexually assaulted, and treated like second class citizens. At that time just being gay was actually considered, by mental health professionals, to be a mental illness.

Since that time we’ve fought to change a few things, a short list includes:

But with all of that, it cannot go unsaid that there are a few things that still need to be changed:

And what are the side effects of that you ask? Well…

  • LGBTQ+ youth are far more likely to suffer depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts*
  • 1 in 4 LGB youth have considered suicide*
  • 1 in 2 (50%!) of trans youth have considered suicide*
  • 40% of all homeless youth in America are LGBTQ+*
    • Most are homeless because they were either kicked out, or severely abused in their home for their LGBTQ+ identity*
  • Queer youth in highly religious communities are far more likely to commit suicide (Utah is a prime example)
  • Every year more trans women of color are being openly murdered in the South and it is almost invisible on the news

*- These are facts I know from working at the Ali Forney Center, a nonprofit addressing the inordinate number of homeless LGBTQ+ youth in NYC and nationwide

“…in the last two years, the Executive branch of the US government has not even acknowledged our existence..”

    Now, back to the matter at hand. What does a fascist state look like? Re-read the list of things that LGBTQ+ people suffer, and I ask again: What does a fascist state look like? Next year it will be the 70th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, and since that time we’ve passed legislation, developed visibility in the media, elected openly LGBTQ+ individuals, etc. And now, in the last two years, the Executive branch of the US government has not even acknowledged our existence. What does fascism look like? And what will you do today to address it? Please go to a rally. Please tell every member of your family and friends who are LGBTQ+ identified that you are proud of them for being who they are, and that you will fight to address the issues above. Please buy something rainbow and wave it around all month. Support queer businesses, elect queer leaders, educate yourself on queer rights issues. Just making it through to this sentence is already more than most do. And for that, I thank you very much.

  So, it’s June; it’s LGBTQ+ Pride Month; it’s time for celebration; it’s time for contemplation; it’s time for revolution; it’s time for us to wake up and say, “Wow… I live in a fascist country. That’s not great.”

This is what fascism looks like.

    I know I know… fascism is a terrifying word. In America we tend to think of fascism in broad strokes: the Holocaust, Cuba, Arab Spring. But it isn’t like one day everyone woke up and said, “Wow… we live in a fascist country. That’s not great.” It was a slow, whittling away of rights, of visibility and the balance of power. And to see it plain as day in the United States of America, you have no further to look than June. Since the 70’s, June has unofficially been the month for LGBTQ+ Pride (especially here in NYC), and during his administration, Barack Obama put a ring on it and made it official. What does this have to do with fascism? Well the Trump Administration has done the worst thing you can do to a marginalized population: ignore it.

  This is the second year in a row that Trump’s administration has made zero reference to June being LGBTQ+ Pride month. And I know, there are plenty out there that would say it’s a shallow thing to be concerned about and is purely superficial. We should be grateful for marriage equality, hop on our unicorns and ride back home to the land of drag queens and YAASSS. But the reality, especially for those least visible in our community, is not so fab.

“We should be grateful for marriage equality, hop on our unicorns and ride back home to the land of drag queens and YAASSS.”

As a quick refresher, June was selected as LGBTQ+ Pride month before the parade. As a matter of fact, the “parade” isn’t a parade at all, it is a march. And it is a march because in June of 1969, without the aid of cell phones and facebook group chat, thousands of queer people took to the streets several days in a row to fight the gross injustice queer people faced. Specifically, it began after a night, the last weekend in June, when police raided a prominent gay bar, the Stonewall Inn, to abuse and assault the queer patrons for no reason other than the fact that they were LGBTQ+. Men dancing with men were beaten; “transvestites” were taken to the bathroom and forced to get naked or be groped to prove their gender; anyone fighting back was thrown outside before the door was locked, trapping hundreds still inside with the abusive officers. And all of this was part of a “routine raid” that many gay establishments had gotten used to at this point. But the people that night said, “on NO henny… we will not be beaten, unless it is to the gods.” And that is when, it is rumored, a trans woman of color picked up a brick and threw it against the window, officially turning the party.

  In minutes thousands of queer people who all lived in the neighborhood (the West Village) came out and set shit on fire. Literally. They marched and raged for three straight nights to let everyone know that they were tired of being marginalized, abused, sexually assaulted, and treated like second class citizens. At that time just being gay was actually considered, by mental health professionals, to be a mental illness.

Since that time we’ve fought to change a few things, a short list includes:

But with all of that, it cannot go unsaid that there are a few things that still need to be changed:

And what are the side effects of that you ask? Well…

  • LGBTQ+ youth are far more likely to suffer depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts*
  • 1 in 4 LGB youth have considered suicide*
  • 1 in 2 (50%!) of trans youth have considered suicide*
  • 40% of all homeless youth in America are LGBTQ+*
    • Most are homeless because they were either kicked out, or severely abused in their home for their LGBTQ+ identity*
  • Queer youth in highly religious communities are far more likely to commit suicide (Utah is a prime example)
  • Every year more trans women of color are being openly murdered in the South and it is almost invisible on the news

*- These are facts I know from working at the Ali Forney Center, a nonprofit addressing the inordinate number of homeless LGBTQ+ youth in NYC and nationwide

“…in the last two years, the Executive branch of the US government has not even acknowledged our existence..”

    Now, back to the matter at hand. What does a fascist state look like? Re-read the list of things that LGBTQ+ people suffer, and I ask again: What does a fascist state look like? Next year it will be the 70th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, and since that time we’ve passed legislation, developed visibility in the media, elected openly LGBTQ+ individuals, etc. And now, in the last two years, the Executive branch of the US government has not even acknowledged our existence. What does fascism look like? And what will you do today to address it? Please go to a rally. Please tell every member of your family and friends who are LGBTQ+ identified that you are proud of them for being who they are, and that you will fight to address the issues above. Please buy something rainbow and wave it around all month. Support queer businesses, elect queer leaders, educate yourself on queer rights issues. Just making it through to this sentence is already more than most do. And for that, I thank you very much.

  So, it’s June; it’s LGBTQ+ Pride Month; it’s time for celebration; it’s time for contemplation; it’s time for revolution; it’s time for us to wake up and say, “Wow… I live in a fascist country. That’s not great.”

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Nathaniel Gray

Nathaniel Gray

Founder, Writer, and LGBTQ+ Empathy Mentor

Nathaniel is a social worker, mentor for parents of LGBTQ+ youth, and facilitator/empathy mentor. He started out in NYC as a singer/dancer/actor from the heartland (O-H-I-O) getting his BFA in Musical Theater from Pace University. After years of performance, Nathaniel turned to working with youth, as an educator and administrator at Fusion Academy. Since then he has completed his Master’s in Social Work at Fordham University and started The Proud Path, as well as worked with the Ali Forney Center and the Hetrick-Martin Institute, agencies addressing LGBTQ+ youth homelessness. His mission is to learn everything he can about the coming out process to assist others through it, and develop empathy within those who never have to.

Nathaniel Gray

Nathaniel Gray

Founder, Writer, and LGBTQ+ Empathy Mentor

Nathaniel is a social worker, mentor for parents of LGBTQ+ youth, and facilitator/empathy mentor. He started out in NYC as a singer/dancer/actor from the heartland (O-H-I-O) getting his BFA in Musical Theater from Pace University. After years of performance, Nathaniel turned to working with youth, as an educator and administrator at Fusion Academy. Since then he has completed his Master’s in Social Work at Fordham University and started The Proud Path, as well as worked with the Ali Forney Center and the Hetrick-Martin Institute, agencies addressing LGBTQ+ youth homelessness. His mission is to learn everything he can about the coming out process to assist others through it, and develop empathy within those who never have to.

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