Stonewall and Pride; aging gracefully

by Amanda Kerri
Trans Issues Columnist

This year marks forty-nine years since the Stonewall Riots kicked off the modern LGBT+ movement and Pride month.

Yes, it’s almost fifty years old now, and like most fifty-year-olds, it will soon start getting junk mail for term life insurance and AARP magazines it didn’t request.

At the same time in this modern society, it can’t start thinking about retiring yet. LGBT+ rights have come a long way since that first rock was thrown in protest that sweltering Saturday night at Stonewall.

However, it’s not in a place where it can start breaking out the Jimmy Buffett albums and Florida retirement homes brochures just yet.

Just recently the Oklahoma governor signed into law a bill to allow adoption agencies to deny same-sex couples the right to adopt if it offends their morality. Governor Colyer has signed the Kansas bill, too.

Donald Trump’s administration continues to wipe out any mention of LGBT+ people in government policy documents. He also recently revoked a provision of the Affordable Care Act that prevented medical professionals from discrimination against LGBT+ people.

Numerous states around the country continue to introduce anti-LGBT+ legislation, and our Vice-President considers us an abomination.

Not to mention that the numbers of assaults against our community appear to be increasing, including attacking people in LGBT+ neighborhoods and at Pride celebrations.

And here we were thinking it was all going to be smooth sailing after same-sex marriage was legalized.

Unfortunately, while we should be staring into the gay activism sunset, we’re nowhere near close to winning our basic equality. There are no laws in our state or nationally protecting us from job discrimination, medical benefits for transgender people and a thousand other things.

This fight is far from over. If we have learned anything from the history of women’s equality and the Civil Rights movement is that it never really ends. There will always be people who are going to work to deny our rights, our freedoms and our simple desire to walk safely down the streets without harassment.

While Pride is, of course, the time of year that we celebrate ourselves openly and proudly, it’s also the time of year we need to remember that the fight for our rights is still occurring every day in our legislatures and our society.

As much as I would love to keep harping on how it’s still scary out there, and how we still have to keep fighting for our rights, it is still Pride month, so that means it’s also party time.

2018 will be my first Pride in about four years where I’m not helping throw the celebration, and I just want to have a good time for a change.

It’s time for me to start looking at my community work sunset. I want to get a sunburn like everyone else, get hot and sweaty, and get a good seat at the parade.

It’s time for a new generation to start stepping up and taking on the work of fighting for our rights and leading our community. I don’t think I’m ready for my retirement community though; maybe I’ll be a Walmart greeter.

Copyright The Gayly – June 28, 2018 @ 8 a.m. CDT.