The most colorful, radiant month of the year has arrived: June.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and more (LGBTQIA+) Pride Month is celebrated at this time to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising that began on June 28 and ended on July 3. The riots started after a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Manhattan. The incident is considered a tipping point for gay liberation in the United States. Among those who fought for acceptance and equality are Sylvia Rivera, Stormé DeLarverie and Marsha P. Johnson.
Over the next few weeks, people of all ages, all across the country will march, sing and dance in acknowledgment of who they are.
Orcas Pride (www.orcasislandpride.com/) is pro-celebration and pro-liberation. The organization provides connection, education and support for LGBTQIA+ and intersecting communities in the San Juan Islands and beyond.
On June 16, there will be a “Day Fest” from noon to four at the Grange with live music, a photo booth, haircuts, clothing swap, games, face painting, dancing, informational booths, a medical van and much more. That evening, the “Night Fest” begins at 7:30 p.m. with a drag show followed by a late-night dance party — also at the Grange.
This month is also a time to recognize we are still in crisis. With anti-drag legislation sweeping through some states and the continued discrimination of LGBTQIA+ people and those living with HIV and AIDS, we are fighting back.
And don’t be fooled that hate doesn’t exist in the San Juans. In 2021, pride flags were stolen from multiple residences. A few weeks ago, on San Juan Island, a group of young islanders painted The Rock, displaying information about the pride festival and images of the pride and trans flag. On May 28, someone vandalized the painting with graphic hate speech.
Sheriff Eric Peter issued a statement from the scene, “I am extremely disappointed and disheartened that this is roughly a handful of incidents that I have seen in our community … since I’ve lived here …. We will not let the hateful acts of a few control us. Love will always win over hate and intolerance.”
As one reader shared with the Sounder, “Pride, to me, is the opposite of shame. Shame is the looming shadow so many people have had to live in for so many years. Unable to be honest about who they love, and what their lifestyle choices are. Pride is more than just a month or a day, pride is standing up every single day denouncing shame and standing up against its loud voice telling us that we cannot love who we want to love or be who we want to be. I choose to be prideful. I choose to say no to shame. I choose to be who I want to be every single day and I hope that pride month helps empower others to feel like they can make the same choice to stand up against shame and feel pride for who they are every single day!”