Bumps in the Road to Queer Equality

1280px-Rainbow_flag_breezeShould you celebrate who you are, even if it puts you in harm’s way?

After the shooting on June 12th at Pulse nightclub, many in the LGBT community looked to pride month with uncertainty. June, officially proclaimed LGBT pride month by President Barack Obama, usually attracts many eager queer people and allies ready to celebrate with events such as the pride parade and dyke march. However, the safety of those marching seemed to be in jeopardy after the Pulse shooting directly targeted queer people. Many were faced with a decision: take the risk and express yourself, or play it safe. LGBT New Yorkers living near Greenwich Village, home to a gay center and the famous Stonewall Inn, gave their input.

“I mean, yeah, there’s always the risk of someone attacking us, but hiding is what they want us to do,” remarked one lesbian sitting in the Gay Center’s small coffee shop. “They can’t stop us from being who we are.” Most other LGBT people asked gave a similar response: aware of the dangers, but willing to face the odds.

Knowing the dangers of LGBT visibility, some people chose to play it safe and spend pride month at their local gay centers. The Greenwich Village gay center hosts activities and events for those in the community, as a queer person or as an ally. Clubs for queer youth, such as a video game meetup affectionately named “Gaymers,” allow mingling and community building in a safe environment.

Despite this breach in the safety of queer people, an overall societal acceptance of LGBT individuals has been observed. Schools, hospitals, workplaces, and other communities all show this: many buildings have stickers tacked on the wall with small rainbows, reading “safe space for all.” Manhattan, New York, and the entire northeast region of North America show long-term growth in support, to where the Economist even states that “Quietly, but quickly, anti-gay attitudes are vanishing in schools.”  It’s a rocky path to complete equality for gay and trans people, but New York continues to be one of the safer places for them to live.

About Zerina bicic

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