Pride Month is celebrated every June to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. What started as a riot at the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village in June 1969 became the catalyst for a movement that has since made tremendous progress for the community, often affectionately referred to as the “Alphabet Mafia.” Many eye witnesses identified Marsha P. Johnson as one of the main instigators of the uprising at the Stonewall Riots. Today she is considered a revolutionary trans activist and leader of the LGBTQ+ liberation movement in the U.S.
The following June in 1970 on the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the first Pride celebration was held in New York City whereein LGBTQ+ rights activists and allies marched through Central Park in commemoration of the riots to send the message that the community would no longer hide or tolerate discrimination. This event also sparked solidarity events throughout European cities. Today, cities all over the world host their own Pride parades.
According to the 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ+ Youth Mental Health conducted by The Trevor Project, 45% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the previous year. For LGBTQ+ youth of color, rates were higher compared to their white peers. For transgender and nonbinary youth, nearly 1 in 5 reported attempting suicide and less than 1 in 3 reported living in a gender-affirming home. The rate of suicide attempts was significantly reduced when youth reported high levels of social support from friends, family, their schools, and their communities. Finally, 60% of LGBTQ+ youth who reported wanting mental health care were unable to receive it. Rates of anxiety and depression among these youth are alarmingly high as well, which only highlights how important it is to support LGBTQ+ individuals of all ages given the prevalence of these mood disorders and suicide risk. Behavioral health issues, such as substance misuse and substance use disorders (SUD), are also more common in sexual minorty adults according to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).
Recent legislation in the U.S. has also had an impact on LGBTQ+ individuals of all ages, particularly transgender and nonbinary folks whose rights have been targeted, specifically in areas related to medical care, gender-affirming spaces like bathrooms, and ability to play team sports.
Since the Stonewall Riots, human rights for LGBTQ+ individuals have made great advancements despite the community still facing oppression and marginalization in every region of the world. Marriage became an equal right for everyone in the U.S. in 2015 under President Obama. Homosexuality was decriminalized by India’s Supreme Court in 2018. That same year, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that marriage and transgender rights are human rights, thus mandating protection of these rights in 20 Latin American countries. A year later in 2019, Taiwan legalized marriage equality, becoming the first in East Asia to do so.
Despite the many victories and advancements for LGBTQ+ individuals everywhere, they have not been without some unfortunate developments. In 2016, for example, 49 individuals, most of whom identified as LGBTQ+, were murdered at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL. The UN Security Council classified this as a terrorist attack. In 2020, the Russian government passed a constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage. The LGBTQ+ community has withstood continued oppression and injustice since the Stonewall Riots. This is why every June, the community pauses to remember Marsha P. Johnson’s strength, those we have lost, those who cannot come out for their own safety, and lastly, to celebrate Pride.
This June, do not forget to celebrate your pride, and if you or someone you know may be struggling with their sexual or gender identity, contact our office to make an appointment with any of our counselors. We are here to support you. Happy Pride!