It’s an understatement to say that this year’s Pride season has been unlike any other in recent memory. Pride festivals have been cancelled nationwide due to the global pandemic. Waves of mass protests in cities and towns across the country sparked by the murder of George Floyd chant Black Lives Matter. The call for local governments to defund bloated police department budgets grows louder.
In times marked by deep pain and uncertainty, it’s difficult to embrace the joy that Pride Month usually brings. But we can’t miss this opportunity to remember that the modern-day LGBTQ movement was born out of protest. From the 1966 riot at San Francisco’s Compton Cafeteria, to the 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York City—these early protests saw gay and trans people fight back against the heavy policing of their communities, which led to the first Pride march in 1970.
Black and Latinx trans women like Marsha P. Johnson, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, and Sylvia Rivera were at the helm of this movement in its early stages. They founded organizations to house and support homeless trans women and queer youth rejected by their families.
According to the Williams Institute at UCLA, the rate of incarceration among sexual minorities today is approximately 3 times higher than the already high general U.S. incarceration rate. As activists take the streets to fight back against aggressive policing in Black and LGBTQ communities, they are continuing the legacy of Johnson, Griffin-Gracy, and Rivera.
And LGBTQ activists continue to make history.
DACA was made possible by LGBTQ immigrants like Jorge Gutiérrez, who, at 24, founded the Queer and Undocumented Immigrant Project to pressure the Obama administration to stop the deportations of DREAMers and their families. Jennicet Guitérrez, who bravely interrupted President Obama during a 2015 Pride Month reception at the White House to call on his administration to release LGBT detainees in immigrant detention centers, is inspiring a new generation of trans and gender-nonconforming leaders. And in a historic decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this month in favor of workplace protections for LGBTQ employees—such a ruling would not have been possible without decades of grassroots organizing.
One more thing—just because we can’t go out and celebrate Pride, doesn’t mean we can’t still have fun. This year, I’ve been celebrating by joining virtual events that support LGBTQ poets, MCs, comedians, DJs, and drag queens, and I’ll continue to seek these spaces when Pride season is over. That’s because queer art, laugher, and music is like medicine. It’s what’s getting me through these difficult times and is fueling my motivation to continue advocating for my community.
If you’re interested in supporting Latino-led LGBTQ organizations, join us in investing into our LGTBQ community. Or better yet… consider joining LCF’s Latinx LGBTQ Giving Circle to be in community with other like-minded and fun-loving philanthropists! To date, the Circle has funded:
Building on 20 years of experience working in HIV prevention in San Francisco’s Mission District, El/La Para TransLatinas provides legal, fiscal, educational, health, and other services to transgender Latinas.
Ensamble Folclórico Colibrí is a Mexican folklore dance group. Under the artistic directorship of Maestro Arturo Magaña, EFC has the mission to promote the pride of identifying as an LGBTQ Latinx through the art of Mexican folklórico dance.
In Lak’ech Dance Academy’s vision is to redefine the Latin dance community as a safe and affirming space for all gender identities and sexualities.
Promesa SF provides a safe and culturally welcoming space for LGBTQ Latinx youth, ages 14 to 19, to confront complex issues impacting identity formation. In its three-year history, Promesa has worked exclusively with this community and is culturally equipped to address the trauma related to stigma, rejection, isolation, sexual orientation, gender variance, and fears of deportation for themselves or loved ones.
Oasis Legal Services proudly provides quality legal immigration services to under-represented low-income groups with a focus on LGBTQIA+ communities. By acknowledging, respecting, and honoring their struggles, they empower immigrants so that dignity grows and integrity blooms.
Somos Familia was founded by two moms from the East Bay with LGBTQ sons. Since 2007 they have been building leadership in our Latinx families and communities to create a culture where people of diverse genders and sexual orientations can thrive.
LCF is also proud to support FAMILIA TRANS QUEER LIBERATION MOVEMENT through our grantmaking this year!
Written by Eduardo García, Senior Policy Fellow at the Latino Community Foundation