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LGBTQ Pride Month: Racial Justice Integral to Equality for All

Some advocates contend LGBTQ equality cannot be achieved without fully embracing anti-racism.  (MathiasWasik/Flickr)
Some advocates contend LGBTQ equality cannot be achieved without fully embracing anti-racism.
(MathiasWasik/Flickr)
June 11, 2020

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- As they reflect on their own fight for equal rights, members of Missouri's LGBTQ community are standing with those fighting for racial justice.

June is Pride Month, and Stephen Eisele executive director of the advocacy group PROMO, says that equality for LGBTQ people cannot be achieved without fully embracing anti-racism.

He notes Pride Month in June was born out of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York, protests against the police harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ individuals.

"It's really incumbent upon all of us within the LGBTQ community to stand up for any community that has been marginalized," Eisele stresses. "And certainly we know what that looks like for our community and we need to be standing in solidarity and making it clear that we are all in this together."

Eisele says the movement is working toward becoming more diverse, equitable and inclusive, with the understanding that LGBTQ individuals are not one-dimensional.

"As human beings, we're multifaceted and bring to that multiple identities, whether you're LGBTQ first, whether you identify as trans first, whether you identify as black first," he states. "And I think Pride (Month) is a prime opportunity to celebrate and uplift voices that have traditionally been left behind."

Members and leaders of civil rights and equality organizations, including PROMO, have signed a pledge to oppose racism and white supremacy and to take action in supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hampered traditional Pride Month activities, with many parades and festivals canceled or delayed. However, Eisele notes it's not a lost opportunity.

"It's often a time for us to really celebrate community together and, you know, it's forcing us in a lot of ways to be creative about how we can make space together online and reach out to the various different audiences that are a part of our community," he states.

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - MO