Some of the world’s biggest celebrations of LGBTQ+ pride are set to kick off on Sunday, with thousands expected to march in New York, San Francisco, and several other North American cities. These parades will be part party, part protest, and include entertainers, activists, drag performers, and transgender advocates as grand marshals.
This year’s pride events carry a unified message, especially in the wake of new laws targeting the LGBTQ+ community in several U.S. states. The parades and marches are among the many events that roughly 400 Pride organizations across the U.S. are holding this year, often with programs focused on trans rights.
“The platform will be elevated and we’ll see communities across the country show their unity and solidarity through these events,” said Ron deHarte, co-president for the U.S. Association of Prides.
Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, and Seattle are scheduled to hold their annual pride parades on Sunday. At Toronto’s parade, more than 100 groups are expected to march. Headlining the post-march concert in Brooklyn is seven-time Grammy winner Christina Aguilera.
New York City’s march is held on the last Sunday in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall uprising—when a police raid on a gay bar triggered days of protests—for LGBTQ+ rights in New York City.
Increased Visibility of Transgender People at Pride Events
Pride events have come a long way since their inception, which started as an annual observation in one city. Today, they are held across the country and are inclusive of bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals, among other groups.
However, just a decade ago, finding resources for families with transgender children was a challenge. Roz Gould Keith, founder and executive director of Stand with Trans, experienced this firsthand when her 13-year-old child wanted to transition. They attended a Pride parade in the Detroit area, but were disappointed by the lack of representation for the transgender community.
Fortunately, this year’s Pride events have made remarkable strides in increasing transgender visibility. Keith was pleased to see “jam-packed” representation of transgender individuals at Motor City Pride.
New York City’s Pride parade even included nonbinary activist AC Dumlao as one of its grand marshals. As chief of staff for Athlete Ally, a group that advocates for LGBTQ+ athletes, Dumlao is devoted to uplifting the trans community.
Dan Dimant, a spokesperson for NYC Pride, emphasized that uplifting the trans community has been an integral part of their events and programming.
The Fight for LGBTQ+ Rights Continues
As this year’s Pride Month comes to a close, many within the LGBTQ+ community continue to face legislative threats and discrimination across the United States.
Lawmakers in 20 states have recently tried to ban gender-affirming care for children, while seven more states consider following suit. Such legislation only highlights the need for greater unity and action within the transgender community and its allies.
In response to these threats, Pride event organizers in New York, San Francisco, and San Diego, amongst about 50 other national pride organizations, released a statement highlighting their concern: “We are under threat. Prides are under threat. The diverse dangers we are facing as an LGBTQ community and Pride organizers, while differing in nature and intensity, share a common trait: they seek to undermine our love, our identity, our freedom, our safety, and our lives.”
Indeed, some parades have increased security measures in response to these ongoing conflicts. The Anti-Defamation League and GLAAD, a national LGBTQ+ organization, reported 101 anti-LGBTQ+ incidents just in the first three weeks of this month—twice as many compared to the entire month of June from last year.
It is clear that the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the US is far from over. Nevertheless, the continued unity and determination of those within the community offer hope for progress and change.