For Pride Month, our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion team has compiled a variety of LGBTQ+ training resources focused on the intersectionality of the Pride movement. Here’s a sampling of what we’re sharing internally to celebrate Pride.
Celebrating Pride Month
“June is Pride Month when the world’s LGBT[QIA+] communities come together and celebrate the freedom to be themselves.” While most Pride events are held in June, some cities celebrate at other times of the year. Today, celebrations include parades, picnics, parties, workshops, and concerts.
The original organizers of Pride chose this month to pay homage to the Stonewall uprising in June 1969 in New York City, which helped spark the modern gay rights movement.”
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Things to Know
What does LGBTQIA+ mean? What other terms should I know?
It is widely recognized by linguists that languages must evolve and adapt throughout time in order to survive. Language is an important way in which humans shape their identities, so it is important to continually learn and use terminology that accurately represents those diverse identities.
LGBTQIA+ is an acronym used to refer to people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual. Gender and sexuality are generally understood as part of a spectrum, as such, there are many different ways in which people define them.
The LGBTQIA+ Resource Center at UC Davis has a comprehensive glossary of terms to help give a more thorough but not entirely comprehensive understanding of the significance of these terms.
the Pride flag
Before the now-iconic rainbow flag was created, there was no specific symbol for LGBTQIA+ rights. At the time, one of the more common symbols was a pink triangle, which had been reappropriated from its use by the Nazis who forced gay concentration camp prisoners to wear it.
In 1978, artist and designer Gilbert Baker was commissioned by San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk—one of the first openly gay elected officials in the US—to make a flag for the city’s upcoming Pride celebrations. Baker, a prominent gay rights activist, worked with Lynn Segerblom, his roommate and co-chair of the 1978 Gay Freedom Day decorations committee, to conceptualize the colorful rainbow design which gave a nod to the stripes of the American flag. While many have related the rainbow colors to the ideal of diversity, the original meaning of the Pride flag’s colors carried other symbolism as Baker used each color to represent central themes to queer experiences:
- Life (red)
- Healing (orange)
- the Sun (yellow)
- Nature (green)
- Harmony (indigo)
- the Soul (violet)
Baker’s original flag had eight stripes, including pink for sexuality and turquoise for art. While the six-stripe rainbow is the most common version of the flag, many have recently turned to another version which adds additional stripes. Brown and black stripes are increasingly included to pay homage to queer people of color who have advanced LGBTQIA+ culture and liberation. Recent years have also seen the inclusion of a tricolor triangle in pink, blue, and white to acknowledge the contributions of trans individuals.
The transgender flag is just one of a myriad of flags representing various identities across the spectrums of orientation and gender, such as bisexual, pansexual, and asexual. You can see the transgender flag at the very end of the video above.
To honor Gilbert’s memory a rainbow font was created in his memory. The Gilbert font in the video below is available for free.
U.S. Supreme Court on Discrimination
While there’s still much work to be done, many others before us have laid the groundwork for equal rights for LGBTQIA+ people under the law. In a historic victory for gay and transgender rights, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 15, 2020, that federal law prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity—discrimination currently allowed by laws in 27 states. That decision has yet to be cemented in legislation, with the most recent attempt being the pending Equality Act which would write gender and sexual orientation explicitly into anti-discrimination law.
Intersectionality: Pride and Black Identity
What is “Intersectionality”?
Intersectionality is a term coined in 1989 by professor Kimberlé Crenshaw to describe how race, class, gender, and other individual characteristics “intersect” with one another and overlap. Identity is inextricably intersectional because it is formed by these different individual characteristics.
Trailblazers You Should Know: Pride Edition
“LGBTQ and same gender loving African Americans have helped to shape the course of American history…In an interview with the Center for Black Equity, curator Aaron Bryant says, ‘It’s difficult to tell the story of African American history and culture without acknowledging the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans who cover a spectrum of identities and experiences, including gender identities and orientations. Our goal is to tell the story of America’s history through an African American lens, and so the museum embraces and celebrates the fact that black communities are diverse, as is American culture and history.'”
Read more about trailblazers to know and watch a few of their stories below:
The Deep Connections between Pride and Black Lives Matter
“On June 27, 1969, a police raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York City touched off a series of protests and militant actions that would come to be called the Stonewall Riots.
The uprising was sparked by constant police harassment and repression of the LGBTQIA+ community. From that moment on, Pride was about protest.
Now – 51 years later – people are once again in the streets, protesting police brutality. The fact that these Black Lives Matter protests are happening during LGBTQIA+ Pride month highlights the links between these two movements. Both are struggling for liberation.”
Black and Transgender: A National Crisis
In 2018, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), 26 transgender people suffered violent deaths in the U.S., a majority of them were black trans women. So far in 2019, seven transgender people have been violently killed, according to the HRC. All the victims in 2019 were Black trans women. Additionally, trans women of color make up four out of five anti-trans homicides, the HRC said in a 2018 report.
Take Action: Be an LGBTQIA+ Ally
Interested in learning more about how to practice allyship?
- Here is an APA style lgbtq+ training resource on bias-free writing for sex and gender.
- UC Davis has created this list of tips for being an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community. Below are a few suggestions from their list for practicing allyship to trans, intersex, and asexual communities:
- Recognize the diversity of trans and genderqueer lives. Remember that these identities are part of other identities, and intersect with race, class, size, sexual orientation, age, immigration status, etc.
- Instead of saying someone was born a boy (or a girl), try saying they were assigned male at birth (or were assigned female). These terms recognize the difference between sex and gender, and emphasize the ways in which sex and gender are assigned to individuals at birth, rather than being innate, binary or immutable qualities. Ask yourself if it is necessary to even mention what sex someone was assigned at birth.
- Always use the pronouns and name people want you to use. If you’re unsure, ASK! If you make a mistake, correct yourself – without being dismissive of its importance, without making excuses, & without making it a huge deal/over-apologizing/drawing attention to you. Politely (and subtly, if possible) correct others if they use the wrong pronoun. It helps to be explicit rather than hoping they pick it up.
- Don’t confuse gender with sexual orientation. Trans people, like cisgender people, are straight, gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, etc.
- Above all respect and support trans people in their lives and choices.
Also in June
Speaking to the importance of intersectionality, it’s important to also recognize Juneteenth in the discussion of Pride month. Juneteenth, short for June nineteenth, is an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Watch to learn more: