Albert H. Fulcher | Editor
Although it was not the first time our community stood up for its rights, the Stonewall riots had a distinct before and after effect unlike any other time in our history. The LGBT community in Greenwich Village, NY had enough of police raids and in the early hours of June 28, 1969, a small group of people at the Stonewall Inn fought back resulting in six days of protests and riots. A pivotal moment in U.S. history, after the riots, people came out of the closet, becoming active, visible and vocal, which resulted in a multitude of organizations and people that began the stand for LGBT rights.
So as we celebrate Pride here in San Diego, we remember those who stood strong before us, because we now stand at another crucial moment in history, one that could turn back the clock and throw us back in the closet. There is a large sector of people in this country who would love nothing more than that. We are watching as they try to strip our rights from us.
We’ve had momentous moments with the Defense of Marriage Act in 2015 following 37 states that had already legalized same-sex marriage. This was an up and down battle, even here in California. But make no mistake. As a community we are still under attack from so many directions, and all of them are detrimental to the LGBT community.
In January, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Trump Administration’s military transgender ban. Transgender people can no longer enlist and these in the military will more than likely be discharged for needing hormone treatments, surgery, having gender dysphoria and can’t or won’t serve in their birth gender.
The Human Rights Campaign reported 26 violent deaths of transgender people in the U.S. in 2018, the majority Black women. So far this year, there are at least 12 reported transgender people who were violently killed. All Black women. Two more transgender deaths are under investigation, one black transgender woman who died in custody at Riker’s Island jail complex in New York City, and an El Salvadorian trans woman who died shortly after being released from ICE detention.
Trans lives matter. Black lives matter.
The Guttmacher Institute reported a total of 27 abortion bans have been enacted across 12 states so far in 2019. Between January 1, 2011 and May 31, 2019, 479 abortion restrictions were enacted in 33 states. That’s more than a third of the 1,271 abortion restrictions enacted since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. These laws all have one goal in common — to get the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and strip women of the rights over their own bodies. Women’s right matter.
Mass Shooting Tracker reports 251 people have been killed in mass shootings (four or more shot) and 793 injured this year to date, compared to 528 people killed and 1,549 injured in 2018 in America. In 2018, the FBI reported a 17 percent year-over-year increase in federal hate crimes in 2017, with 60% being against gay men out of 1,249 victims of gender-based violence. And many hate crimes are not reported. After the Pulse nightclub massacre, we now know that in reality that we no longer have any safe places. We’ve had a shooting and LGBT hate vandalism this year in Hillcrest, along with attacks on other minorities, religions in our region. All lives matter.
The Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether a federal employment discrimination law that bans discrimination based on sex also includes discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identification. This is an issue that is of critical importance to LGBT rights groups who are seeking increased protections. The Trump administration said that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not provide such protections. Discrimination against the LGBTQ community is still legal in 32 states. Our quality of life matters.
But we cannot let any of these things deter us from carrying on what Stonewall taught us: to fight back and continue to say, “No, we will not tolerate this anymore.” Our livelihood and our lives depend on it.
That is why we still need Pride celebrations today. With this year’s Pride, I am expecting the largest turnout in our history and the biggest party in San Diego.
San Diego LGBT Pride has outdone itself this year, again, and this is the perfect opportunity to unite for all the causes that we stand for and stand against. Yes, we need to be aware and continue the fight, but we also need to show the world that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that will allow us to crawl back into the closets.
Be proud, be loud, be free, be who you are. Have a fabulous Pride!
—Albert Fulcher can be reached at [email protected].