Every June, we reflect on the significant progress we've made on the long road towards equality for LGBTQ Americans. A seminal moment in that journey was in 1969, when LGBTQ activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, among many others, took a stand against police violence and harassment during the Stonewall rebellion.
Fifty one years later, much progress has been made—but the same struggle against systemic discrimination and police violence remains. The Black Lives Matter movement has revealed the depth and relentlessness of racial injustice in the United States and has stirred millions to action around the world. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, and many others have sparked a global conversation about the persistence of racial discrimination, police violence, and other social inequities.
For people who live at the intersections of marginalized identities like race, gender, and sexuality, their struggles are compounded. They are on the frontlines of this fight—and we want to recognize them. Help us lift up the Black LGBTQ leaders in your community who are meeting this moment. Whether their acts are big or small, we want to know their stories.
We’ll be sharing submissions here and on our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts, so be sure to follow along throughout the month of June.
Check out some photos of our celebrations over the years, then revisit some of President Obama's powerful words about LGBTQ rights and progress.
“The story of America is a story of progress. It’s written by ordinary people who put their shoulders to the wheel of history to make sure that the promise of our founding applies not just to some of us – but to all of us.
“Today, all Americans are protected by a hate crimes law that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is history. Insurance companies can no longer turn you away because of who you are. Transgender Americans are more visible than ever, helping to make our nation more inclusive and welcoming for all. And one year ago this weekend, we lit the White House in every color – because in every state in America, you’re now free to marry the person you love.
“But the arc of our history is clear – it’s an arc of progress. And a lot of that progress can be traced back to Stonewall. So this week, I’m designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America’s national parks system. Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights. I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country – the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us. That we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one.”
“A lot of what we’ve accomplished over these last six and a half years has been because of you. Because of the groundwork that you and so many of you laid before, from sophisticated national campaigns to small, quiet acts of defiance — together, we’ve been able to do more to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans than at any time in our history.
“And nobody has got a monopoly on that kind of courage. It can come from all walks of life. And to a young boy or girl out there struggling with their own identity, the folks in this room are heroes, have shown extraordinary courage. Not only are you helping others find the strength to be true to who they are, you’re helping America be true to who we are as a nation.
“And that’s ultimately what this Pride month is all about. It’s about commemorating the bravery at Stonewall, when in the face of hatred and violence, a group of Americans decided to stand up for their rights to be who they are. It’s about celebrating the extraordinary progress we’ve made in making sure that LGBT Americans can enjoy their rights to pursue life, liberty and happiness. But it’s also about pride in who we are as a nation.”
"We’ve got an obligation to make sure that the country we love remains a place where no matter who you are, or what you look like, or where you come from, or how you started out, or what your last name is, or who you love— no matter what, you can make it in this country.
"That’s the story of America. That’s the story of this movement. I want to thank all of you for doing your part. We've got a long way to go, but I hope as everybody looks around this room, you are reminded of the extraordinary progress that we have made not just in our lifetimes, but in the last five years."