June 1, 2021 Blog
Today marks the start of both Pride and Gun Violence Awareness Month, a time we typically recognize at marches, parades, and commemorative events throughout our communities.
This year, like last, most celebrations and recognitions are taking place virtually. Also like last year, today, one year after a national uprising against systemic racism and on the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, we are prompted to reflect on Pride’s revolutionary roots.
Pride was born out of protests in response to police violence, led by Marsha P. Johnson, a Black trans woman. More than 50 years after the Stonewall riots, we are reckoning with the racism and violence knit into our institutions. We are still faced with a society where violence is too often wielded against Black and brown LGBTQIA people and too often carried out by a gun.
A combination of easy access to firearms and bias leaves the LGBTQIA community—and in particular Black and brown LGBTQIA individuals—especially vulnerable to gun violence. Every year, more than 10,000 hate crimes are carried out with a gun and nearly one-fifth are based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The tragedy at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida five years ago was a devastating example of the deadly combination of hate and guns. It was the largest ever attack on the LGBTQIA community, leaving 49 people dead and 53 others wounded. Pulse rightly captured national attention. But every day, members of the LGBTQIA community fall victim to acts of gun violence that rarely make headlines. That is especially true for trans people, and Black trans women in particular.
This month, as we celebrate Pride, we recommit to building on the progress we have made to disarm hate and to make our work and our movement inclusive and inviting for all.
— Renée Hopkins is CEO of the Alliance