Saturday, May 16, 2009

Glad To Be Able To Celebrate Without Fear

June is a month filled with Gay Pride celebrations throughout the US and in other parts of the world. June is the chosen month in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots that took place in NYC on June 28, 1969, 40 years ago. It was on that night that gays and lesbians, while enjoying a night out at at the Stonewall, were again harassed by the police. The police raided the bar,but this time the police got more than they bargained for. The drag queens fought back! The patrons had had enough! Even though the police got control of the scene, this event marked the beginning of the gay rights movement in the US.

We in the US today can attend gay pride parades and festivities without fear of reprisal. Fellow LGTB Community members elsewhere in the world don't have it so fortunate. In Moscow today, riot police broke up several gay rights demonstrations.The police hauled away scores of protesters hours before the capital hosted a major international pop music competition. Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov has drawn international criticism by describing homosexuality as "satanic" and seeking to justify official discrimination against gay people in Russia by claiming they help spread the AIDS virus. I certainly hope President Obama voices his disgust at what has happened in Moscow!

Even though the US still has a long way to go to give LGBT people FULL equal rights, we are a great deal better off than elsewhere thanks to the men and women, like those at Stonewall, that have fought a hard fight for the rights we do have. As we celebrate Gay Pride, I hope we in the US remember those around the world who live in fear each and every day.

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