This June, The Women’s Foundation celebrates the impact and contribution of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) community and their unwavering strides for equality. As a marginalized group, the LGBTQIA+ community confronts a myriad of unique challenges, setting them apart from the experiences encountered by their heterosexual counterparts.
Throughout history, the LGBTQIA+ community has witnessed a powerful journey of advocacy and activism. Since the transformative events of the Stonewall riot on June 28th, 1969, activists have championed numerous causes, including the decriminalization of homosexuality, destigmatization of homosexuality as a mental illness, and the legalization of same-sex marriage, to name a few. However, amidst these significant milestones, the community faces an alarming reality: there are currently 27 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills pending legislation and 80 anti-trans bills passed in 2023, highlighting the persistent challenges that demand our attention and collective action.
While there have been great strides for equality, there is a critical need for policymakers to pass more bills to secure rights and protection for LGBTQIA+ people. Within the Washington metropolitan region, there are 13 pending Anti-LGBTQIA+ bills that are detrimental to LGBTQIA+ people.
Focusing on passing laws, policies, and bills at the local, state, and federal level is at the forefront of the efforts of the agenda for activists and organizations fighting for queer rights. We must continue working with our justice systems to ensure LGBTQIA+ people have the same rights and protections as heterosexual people.
In a quote from activist Petra E. Biloxi, she encompasses the “why” behind the need for equality, “All anybody is trying to do is live their lives and be given the service, be treated with respect as anyone else is treated. All we want is equality.”
So, how can you show your support? Be an ally.
There are numerous ways to be an ally, including asking someone for their pronouns, having open discussions in your workplace, being aware of microaggressions and transphobic language, and working with your policymakers to help pass nondiscrimination laws.
People who are not a part of the LGBTQIA+ community have significantly impacted the advancement of equality for LGBTQIA+ people. As you expand your knowledge, being a bystander is not enough.
Allies must combat disinformation when they see or hear it — on social media, around dinner tables, or at water cooler conversations at work. Continue to be open-minded and be willing to learn.
As The Women’s Foundation reflects upon the victories achieved by the LGBTQIA+ community, it is essential to acknowledge the intersecting experiences of people of color within this community. We recognize true equality cannot be realized until we combat these intersecting systems of oppression.
While June is federally recognized heritage month for LGBTQIA+, The Women’s Foundation is steadfast in ensuring our work supports protecting and advocating for the LGBTQIA+ beyond this designated period.
To support our organization to help us advocate and create safe spaces for underrepresented communities, donate today! Your gift will help ensure that every woman, girl, and gender-expansive youth of color in the Washington region has access to the resources that will help them attain economic security and thrive.
To learn more about how you can be a better ally, check out the recommendations from the Human Rights Campaign https://www.hrc.org/resources/being-an-lgbtq-ally.