Today marks the first day of Pride Month. Already, brands and politicians have festooned their social media pages with rainbows and have earmarked a boatload of advertising dollars to signal their support for the LGBTQ+ community.
In many ways, this is a sign of tremendous progress. Just 60 years ago, every state in the union had anti-sodomy on the books that effectively criminalized same-sex relationships. Moreover, gender non-conforming people were subject to a myriad of legal and social restrictions that made it virtually impossible to live openly.
However, in other ways , these corporate expressions of Pride obfuscate both the tremendous work that remains to be done and the risks that threaten the rights for which we fought tirelessly. For example:
- There is currently no federal anti-discrimination law protecting LGBTQ+ people from being fired or evicted because of their identity. The Equality Act, which would provide explicit and non-discrimination protections, has stalled in Congress for years.
- Trans and gender non-conforming people have been subject to an increasing stream of violence. In 2022 alone, at least 14 transgender people have been shot or killed by other violent means.
- The radical conservative majority on the Supreme Court could take back our rights in a variety of ways. The recent leak of the Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade takes aim at the reasoning underpinning Obergefell, the landmark decision that made marriage equality the law of the land.
- More than 30,000 people per year continue to be infected with HIV due to the lack of access to effective prevention methods like PrEP and TaSP.
- An onslaught of bills passed in conservative state legislatures from Texas to Florida have sought to antagonize and marginalize queer kids. These bills are particularly dangerous when taking into account that more than 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered suicde in the past year.
These challenges will not go unanswered. Activists, foundations, and advocacy organizations around the country are mobilizing to meet this pivotal moment. If you are looking to show support for queer people this Pride Month, consider supporting the below organizations instead of buying those rainbow Oreos (that taste gross anyway).
- The Trevor Project – The Trevor Project is the nation’s leading organization dedicated to promoting mental health and fighting LGBTQ+ youth suicide. They administer lifesaving help-line and online chat system where queer kids can talk to a counselor at any time, day or night. In addition to its direct services, the group’s advocacy efforts were pivot to the federal enactment of the 9-8-8 Lifeline, the new three-digit dialing code that routs people directly to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. The program will be available to everyone across the United States starting on July 16, 2022.
- The Gill Foundation – The Gill Foundation is an important grant making foundation that funds grassroots organization across the country fighting for full equality for full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people. They help to fund organizations that tell stories, educate the public, conduct important research, and advance rights through the legal system.
- PrEP4All – PrEP4ll’s mission is to increase access to lifesaving HIV treatment and prevention medication. The initiative was founded in 2018 in response to price gouging by pharma-giant Gilead of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a pill that is more than 99 percent effective at preventing HIV transmission when taken daily. The organization’s work has since expanded to include advocacy for global access to Hepatitis-C medication and COVID-19 vaccines.
- The Marsha P. Johnson Institute (MPJI) – Named after the notable trans activist Marsha P. Johnson, the Institute is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights of Black trans people. They administer a number of grants for organizers, artists, and non-profits who promote the collective power of black trans people and reclaim their relationship to the wider movement’s legacy.
Fenton is recommitting itself to the struggle for rights and dignity for all sexual and gender identities this Pride Month. Prism, our new queer employee resource group, will be hosting workshops, speakers, and educational initiatives that increase awareness of key LGBTQ+ issues and focus on ways our staff can make a difference.