Today is the 45th Anniversary of the riots at the Stonewall Inn. If you aren’t familiar with the story, the Stonewall Inn was a mafia-owned gay bar in New York City. It was one of the few places that would serve to openly LGBT people in New York. The bar and the patrons were subject to frequent raids by the police during a time when homosexuality was considered a criminal offense.
These riots are one of the critical moments in LGBT history for they have set off the current civil rights movement that continues today as we find our community fighting for more equal rights and protections as well as continuing to support our LGBT friends facing discrimination throughout the world. One of the major and most common celebrations of our community of course is Pride. Most commonly occurring during the month of June (depending on the city) Pride has long been a day where people who are different, LGBT or otherwise can come together to openly celebrate who we are and continue to remind the world that we will continue to fight for our rights and equality.
Not so much today. Even some gay bars have specifically set forth discrimination policies to exclude certain types of people. Even Pride has begun to lose it’s overall meaning, as more large companies and corporations see the value ($$$) in being openly gay friendly, festivals have come more loaded with booths and displays for major corporations trying to promote to the LGBT community. As a result the prices to participate in Pride have significantly risen. Smaller locally, LGBT owned business, organizations, sports leagues etc are quickly diminished if not entirely excluded from the festival and parade. Many times are excluded all together. In addition Pride has come quite gentrified in that there are very few, if any references to why Pride is important as it has come more corporate and mainstream.
Now that all sounds so critical so what can we to bring more meaning to pride? By remembering those who’ve sacrificed their rights, dignities, even lives so we can continue to accomplish and enjoy all that equality brings. Learning about our history and helping people understand the importance. Often time’s homophobic people will argue as to why “straight pride” doesn’t exist. Straight pride doesn’t exist because being straight never has been a crime; nobody has ever been criminalized, beaten or killed for being straight. However many LGBT have been criminalized, beaten or killed simply for not being straight and it is important that we always keep that in the back of our mind whenever we celebrate Pride.
The LGBT community has always been a place where those who are different, perhaps who’ve always been rejected by the mainstream could find a home. It is important that we continue to have open arms for all and continue to practice our traditions of acceptance and inclusion in a world that is still full of a lot of hate and discrimination.
David Smith is an exercise professional, athlete, blogger and owner of Stonewall Fitness. He is a certified personal trainer and holds a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science and Nutrition. He is an active athlete and Gay Games medalist training and competing in triathlon and swimming. He is passionate about bringing the LGBT community together through exercise and fitness. Help support David with his athletic endeavors! Visit www.gofundme.com/bttrflyr and Read more here...