A Note from Jarrett T. Barrios - June 2010

A Note from Jarrett T. Barrios: Thoughts on Pride Month

In my visits to places such as the Center on Halsted in Chicago and the Resource Center in Dallas, I often think about how there are certain things that transcend localities and cultural differences. One of those coalescing elements is the idea of Pride.  

As most of us remember, the modern LGBT movement started from events at the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village almost 41 years ago.  On the morning of June 28, 1969, a group of patrons at the Stonewall Inn – a New York city bar that was a frequent target of police raids because it catered to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community – fought back against police brutality and harassment. Their uprising set in motion a wave of activism among LGBT people that continued for five more consecutive nights and came to be known as the Stonewall Riots, and many historians credit Stonewall with putting the issue of LGBT rights on the American political map.

From that time, the word "Stonewall" has entered the vocabulary of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people everywhere as a potent emblem of the LGBT community taking a stand and demanding full equality in every area of life.  Each year, Pride Month celebrates that beginning and helps to remind us about the people who became the catalyst for the LGBT equality movement.

As our country and the world prepares for LGBT Pride Month, thousands of allies, LGBT people, youth and entire families will participate in festivals, parades and events to support pride in the LGBT community and GLAAD will be there.  GLAAD will have a presence in many cities across the country through our local Leadership Councils - a group of ambassadors of GLAAD’s work in their community - who will march in the Pride parades and run the GLAAD booths at the festivals as well as sponsor events- such as a night in New York where proceeds of the Broadway show ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ will benefit GLAAD,  a screening of an upcoming CNN documentary in Los Angeles, a ‘Thank GLAAD It’s Friday’ event in Atlanta, and co-presention of 8: The Mormon Proposition at the San Francisco LGBT Film Festival. These events not only benefit GLAAD’s Programmatic work but also help to raise visibility for our community and LGBT inclusive images in the media.

Pride Month is a measure of how far our community has come and what is left to achieve.  As the world commemorates Pride, Congress has taken important steps toward both improving security and acknowledging the patriotism, sacrifice and bravery of gay and lesbian troops serving in our nation’s military.  On May 28, the House voted 234 to 194 in favor of a proposal that would initiate a repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”.  This now paves the way to end the ban on allowing gay and lesbian people to serve their country with pride and dignity. For years, and now with a renewed focus on expediting a repeal, GLAAD has been working diligently on this important issue. GLAAD has urged media to spotlight stories of service members such as Jarrod Chlapowski and Alex Nicholson from the GLAAD Media Awards nominated documentary Ask Not and with photographer Jeff Sheng, bringing his images of gay and lesbian service members to Americans.

This month as you partake in Pride events in your own neighborhoods, take a moment to reflect on the achievements of those whose bravery and leadership arose out of Stonewall riots, get involved and continue to support the work of GLAAD as we continue amplifying the voice of the LGBT community to promote understanding, increase acceptance, and advance equality. 

In service,

Jarrett T. Barrios