In Pride, celebration amid deep national atmosphere

NEW YORK (AP) — LGBTQ pride commemorations that sometimes feel like victory parties for civil rights advances have been a dark, national atmosphere this year of fierce legislative and rhetorical battles over sexual orientation and gender identity. are battling.

Large crowds are expected on Sunday at Pride events in New York City and several other venues including San Francisco, Chicago, Denver and Toronto, in a return to large, in-person events after two years of pandemic-induced restrictions.

Like every year, this time too the festival is expected to be gleeful and festive. But for many, they will also have a renewed sense of urgency.

In March, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law excluding teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, which critics denounced as an attempt to marginalize LGBTQ people and “don’t”. than gay” denounced as law.

In Texas, like DeSantis A Republican, Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter to state health agencies in February saying that receiving gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth would be child abuse under state law. A judge has blocked the full implementation of either parent’s indictment.

“There are a lot of anti-LGBTQ attacks going on around the country and a lot of them are really trying to erase our existence and make us invisible, and make our youth invisible and our elders invisible,” Michael Adams he said. CEO of SAGE, which advocates for LGBTQ elders.

“This year’s Pride is especially important and more powerful than ever because it’s about people stepping up and getting out and saying, ‘We refuse to be invisible. We refuse to be wiped out’ .'”

The protest has always been an element of New York City’s Pride Parade, which roughly coincides with the anniversary of the June 28, 1969 beginning of the Stonewall Uprising—a day of protests sparked by a police raid on a gay bar in Manhattan.

In the 1980s, marchers protested the government’s lack of attention to the AIDS epidemic.

In recent years, however, they have often been a celebration for LGBTQ communities to celebrate major victories, such as in 2015 when the Supreme Court issued the Obergfels v. Hodges decision recognizing same-sex marriage.

However this is not the case this year.

“This year, we’ve seen an onslaught of aggressively hostile LGBTQ+ bills in several state legislatures, and more of them have been passed than last year,” said Jennifer Pizarre, Lambda Legal’s director of law and policy.

There is also concern over a possible Supreme Court decision to overturn a nationwide right to abortion – adhering to a long-established legal standard that has people wondering whether same-sex marriage may be next.

It brings a reality that, in addition to celebration, there is still a need for activism, said Joe Negrelli, 70, a longtime NYC Pride attendee.

“Can it be reversed? Yes, I believe it. It’s an understatement,” he said of the court’s decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide. It “made me want to put more energy into joining the marching Is.”

Anyone who may have been “stuck in a false sense of security” from previous civil rights victories has now woken up, Adams said. “I think many of us who understand the history of the struggle for equality and equality and social justice in this country know that the fight never ends.”

It’s not just the law. Hate speech watchers say anti-LGBTQ language has surged online, raising fears that extremists will take it as a call to join action, such as the protests and physical blockades at the Drag Queen Story Hours Outbreak, where adults in drag read books to children.

Earlier this month, 31 members of a white supremacist group carrying riot gear were arrested on charges that they were plotting a major disruption at a pride event in Idaho.

This does not mean that the festivities are over, the advocates said.

“There can be celebration and joy, and there can be purpose in protest,” Pizer said.

Ellen Ensig-Brodsky, 89, has embraced both of those roles in her decades of attending Pride as an LGBTQ rights activist.

“The parade is a public display of my identity and my group, which I have been a part of for at least 40 or more years,” he said. She said she would march again on Sunday. “I certainly wouldn’t want to miss it.”

After so long, the animosity and animosity she is witnessing across the country is not unfamiliar to her.

“The intention to increase the anti-LGBTQ existence is a return to what I started decades ago”, she said. After that, “We didn’t come out. We hid.”

Not now, she said, “I think we need to show that love can persist and continue and spread.”

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