Statement by NOW President Christian F. Nunes
Each June, NOW members join in celebrating Pride Month, the yearly commemoration to uplift LGBTQIA+ rights and honor the significant victories achieved since the historic Stonewall Uprising in June 1969.
The Stonewall Inn, now a national monument, was one of the most popular gay bars in New York City, at a time when homosexuality was considered a criminal offense, and many gay establishments had to operate without liquor licenses—which meant a constant threat of police raids and brutality. The Stonewall Inn had been raided on average once a month leading up to the raid on June 28, 1969.
But that night, as officers started to push customers and workers into police vehicles, instead of quickly heading home as they had during earlier police raids, this time those who hadn’t been rounded up began cheering those who had. Crowds grew outside the building and protesters started to push back. Officers barricaded themselves into the bar and called for reinforcements. More clashes shook the neighborhood over the next few days.
In the weeks and months to come, scores of activist groups and community initiatives were launched which led to the first Pride marches in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco on June 28, 1970, one year after Stonewall. Today, we continue this tradition and salute the courage of the millions who work tirelessly for equality.
LGBTQIA+ rights are one of NOW’s six core issues, and NOW is committed to fighting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in all areas, including employment, housing, public accommodations, health services, child custody, and military policies.
While this month is a time to celebrate accomplishments and progress, much more needs to be done. We are seeing a horrific rise in discriminatory attacks based on gender, including hateful laws targeting students’ gender identity. We must pass the Equality Act which provides much needed civil rights protections for LGBTQIA+ people and families.
There can be no equality for any of us if there is no equality for all of us. Everyone must have equal access to the same rights—regardless of their sexuality or gender identity.
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the nation’s leading membership-based advocacy group dedicated to defending women’s rights, advancing equality and combating injustice in all aspects of social, political and economic life. Through educating, mobilizing, and convening a vast network of grassroots activists across the country, NOW advocates for national, state and local policies that promote an anti-racist and intersectional feminist agenda. Since its founding in 1966, NOW has been on the frontlines of nearly every major advancement for women’s rights and continues to champion progressive values today. More about NOW’s efforts and resources is available at NOW.org.
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