Photo by Fred W. McDarrah, Village Voice
The Stonewall Inn, a mob-owned gay bar in New York’s West Village, was an easy target for surprise raids in the late 1960s. Busts were common, but riots were not, so when the police began making arrests in the early hours of June 28, 1969, no one expected resistance. But that night, the crowd erupted. People hurled insults, then coins, beer cans, and bricks. Reinforcements rushed to the scene as Stonewall supporters poured out of neighboring dives to join the melee. Half destroyed, Stonewall reopened the following night. The rioters returned, singing protest songs, and so did the police, armed with tear gas.
The Stonewall riots electrified the nascent gay liberation movement with urgent, ferocious energy during a time when homosexuality was illegal in 49 states and widely considered to be a mental disorder. Suddenly, what had been a nonviolent push for civil liberties became an uncompromising crusade. A year later, the first pride march set out from Stonewall, growing from several hundred people to several thousand as it moved up Sixth Avenue.
Courtesy of the Napa Valley Library and DavenPort LibGuides
During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Pride Month, we reflect on the progress we have made as a Nation in the fight for justice, inclusion, and equality while reaffirming our commitment to do more to support LGBTQI+ rights at home and abroad. I often say that America can be defined by one word: possibilities. This month, we celebrate generations of LGBTQI+ people who have fought to make the possibilities of our Nation real for every American.
Today, the rights of LGBTQI+ Americans are under relentless attack. Members of the LGBTQI+ community — especially people of color and trans people — continue to face discrimination and cruel, persistent efforts to undermine their human rights. An onslaught of dangerous anti-LGBTQI+ legislation has been introduced and passed in States across the country, targeting transgender children and their parents and interfering with their access to health care. These unconscionable attacks have left countless LGBTQI+ families in fear and pain. All of this compounded has been especially difficult on LGBTQI+ youth, 45 percent of whom seriously considered attempting suicide in the last year — a devastating reality that our Nation must work urgently to address.
This month, we remind the LGBTQI+ community that they are loved and cherished.
Reference at the •PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONS
The original gay-pride flag was hand-dyed by Gilbert Baker. It flew in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978. The flag consisted of eight stripes; Baker assigned specific meanings to each of the colors: hot pink: sexuality; red: life; orange: healing; yellow: sunlight green: nature; turquoise: magic/art; indigo/blue: serenity/harmony; violet: spirit.
After November 27, 1978, the assassination of openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk, demand for the rainbow flag greatly increased. As Baker ramped up production of his version of the flag, he dropped the hot pink stripe because of the unavailability of hot-pink fabric. In 1979 the flag was modified again. When hung vertically from
the lamp posts of San Francisco’s Market Street, the center stripe was obscured by the post itself. Changing the flag design to one with an even number of stripes was the easiest way to rectify this, so the turquoise stripe was dropped, which resulted in a six-stripe version of the flag.
In 1988, the rainbow flag came to nationwide attention in the United States after John Stout sued his landlords
and won when they attempted to prohibit him from displaying the flag from his West Hollywood, California, apartment balcony.
It has been suggested that Baker was inspired by Judy Garland's singing Over the Rainbow.
Terminology within the transgender community varies and has changed over time so we recognize the need to be sensitive to usage within particular communities.
Transgender: A term for people whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth. Transgender is a broad term and is good for non-transgender people to use. "Trans" is shorthand for "transgender." (Note: Transgender is correctly used as an adjective, not a noun, thus "transgender people" is appropriate but "transgenders" is often viewed as disrespectful.)
Transgender Man: A term for a transgender individual who currently identifies as a man (see also “FTM”).
Transgender Woman: A term for a transgender individual who currently identifies as a woman (see also “MTF”).
Gender Identity: An individual’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else. Since gender identity is internal, one’s gender identity is not necessarily visible to others.
Gender Expression: How a person represents or expresses one’s gender identity to others, often through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, voice or body characteristics.
Transsexual: An older term for people whose gender identity is different from their assigned sex at birth who seeks to transition from male to female or female to male. Many do not prefer this term because it is thought to sound overly clinical.
Cross-dresser: A term for people who dress in clothing traditionally or stereotypically worn by the other sex, but who generally have no intent to live full-time as the other gender. The older term "transvestite" is considered derogatory by many in the United States.
Queer: A term used to refer to lesbian, gay, bisexual and, often also transgender, people. Some use queer as an alternative to "gay" in an effort to be more inclusive. Depending on the user, the term has either a derogatory or an affirming connotation, as many have sought to reclaim the term that was once widely used in a negative way.
Genderqueer: A term used by some individuals who identify as neither entirely male nor entirely female.
Gender Non-conforming: A term for individuals whose gender expression is different from societal expectations related to gender.
Bi-gendered: One who has a significant gender identity that encompasses both genders, male and female. Some may feel that one side or the other is stronger, but both sides are there.
Two-Spirit: A contemporary term that refers to the historical and current First Nations people whose individuals spirits were a blend of male and female spirits. This term has been reclaimed by some in Native American LGBT communities in order to honor their heritage and provide an alternative to the Western labels of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
FTM: A person who transitions from "female-to-male," meaning a person who was assigned female at birth, but identifies and lives as a male. Also known as a “transgender man.”
MTF: A person who transitions from "male-to-female," meaning a person who was assigned male at birth, but identifies and lives as a female. Also known as a “transgender woman.”
Sex Reassignment Surgery: Surgical procedures that change one’s body to better reflect a person’s gender identity. This may include different procedures, including those sometimes also referred to as "top surgery" (breast augmentation or removal) or "bottom surgery" (altering genitals). Contrary to popular belief, there is not one surgery; in fact there are many different surgeries. These surgeries are medically necessary for some people, however not all people want, need, or can have surgery as part of their transition. "Sex change surgery" is considered a derogatory term by many.
Sexual Orientation: A term describing a person’s attraction to members of the same sex and/or different sex, usually defined as lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual, or asexual.
Transition: The time when a person begins to live as the gender with which they identify rather than the gender they were assigned at birth, which often includes changing one’s first name and dressing and grooming differently. Transitioning may or may not also include medical and legal aspects, including taking hormones, having surgery, or changing identity documents (e.g. driver’s license, Social Security record) to reflect one’s gender identity. Medical and legal steps are often difficult for people to afford.
Intersex: A term used for people who are born with reproductive or sexual anatomy and/or chromosome pattern that does not seem to fit typical definitions of male or female. Intersex conditions are also known as differences in sex development (DSD).
Drag Queen: Used to refer to male performers who dress as women for the purpose of entertaining others at bars, clubs, or other events. It is also sometimes used in a derogatory manner to refer to transgender women.
Drag King: Used to refer to female performers who dress as men for the purposes of entertaining others at bars, clubs, or other events.
Culled from National Center for Transgender Equality Terminology List