June 28th, 2015 PRIDE

First and foremost – a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to the LGBTQ community for the Supreme Court decision that made gay marriage a right nationwide! Justified by the14th Amendment, sexuality and gender orientation are no longer legally legitimate reasons to prevent couples from the right to marriage (and the consequential state and federal benefits marriage affords American citizens).

But before I go on, I think it’s important to note that this symbolic ruling, as noteworthy as it is, is not the end of the fight for equality. There are alarming rates of violence, sexual assault, discrimination, and suicide among every group represented by the acronym LGBTQ, and especially for those who also belong to an ethnic minority and/or are unwealthy. For example, “one in two transgender individuals are sexually abused or assaulted at some point in their lives,” a tragic statistic that underscores how important it is to keep on fighting for equal rights, instead of simply being content with the recent good news.  If you’re looking for some way to help, I’ve compiled a quick list of charities that you could check out. But I’m by no means an expert, so I recommend doing some research before contributing:

General LGBTQ charities

Charities for homeless and youth LGBTQ 
Charities against Trans Violence

This whole weekend, New York has been bursting with celebration. On Friday, when the decision was handed down, crowds of people gathered at the Stonewall Inn, the site of  the 1969 protests against police brutality towards the queer community and the birthplace of the modern Gay Rights movement. The site also officially became a national landmark this week. We joined the crowd gathered there and couldn’t hear ourselves over the cheers and fireworks.

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Stonewall Inn on June 26th, 2015

I’m a little upset at having missed several great DJs who played for Pride on Saturday, including Ruby Rose, the Australian musician, model, and now actress for Orange is the New Black . But the main event was on Sunday, with the NYC Pride Parade, marking the 46th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. I took a lot of audio recordings and pictures, so I think I’ll let them speak for themselves…

The loudest speakers I’ve ever heard….

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… and here’s how they sounded. It doesn’t come across well on my field recorder, but I could literally feel the bass in my entire body, head to foot.

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Black Cindy and Flaca from Orange is the New Black!

Black Cindy and Flaca from Orange is the New Black!   20150628_134107  20150628_142231

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The whole thing generally sounded like this for three hours.

Are there problems with Pride celebrations? Yeah, definitely, especially when it comes to appropriation of the movement by corporations and wealthy, mostly white partiers who basically just want another occasion day-drink and hookup. For every honest, progressive grass-roots organization I saw marching at the parade (like the Anti-Violence Project and Identity House), there was a Coca-Cola or Walmart float rolling through, with their go go dancers shamelessly flinging logo-emblazoned drinks and tee-shirts at the crowd and their DJs turning up the speakers to be heard over everyone else in the line-up.

And as I mentioned up above, there’s still a lot of work to do before any semblance of true equality can begin to make an appearance. But that doesn’t take away from the significance of the Supreme Court’s decision, and that is definitely cause enough to celebrate.

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