Pride … back to where it started

Out In Jersey magazine Editor Sam Martino
Out In Jersey magazine Editor Sam Martino

Editor’s Letter

Every year, I get excited about Pride season, and this summer we will celebrate WorldPride in the place where Pride started: New York City. This is sure to be a great event, which is a month long party in June.

Jersey Pride Parade 2015
Jersey Pride Parade 2015

Don’t worry if you can’t get to New York this year; there are plenty of Pride parades and celebrations to go around. Here in New Jersey, we will start Pride season off with Jersey Pride in Asbury Park on June 2nd, North Jersey Pride in Maplewood on June 9th, Newark Gay Pride on July 14th, and Jersey City Pride on August 23rd. Then, NYC and WorldPride cap off Pride month on June 30th.

I remember growing up and chanting at Prides past: “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it.” Never did I think they would actually get used to us, but here we are … kind of. In 1970, one year after the Stonewall Riots, we started marching in the streets, demanding our rights. We refused to be ignored any longer, and we refused to allow anyone to not give us our rights, and that battle has been long and hard. When we started marching, we didn’t march for just our own personal rights, we marched for every LGBT person. While some of us have the right to marry and can’t get fired for being gay, there are some of us who can still be fired, and many in the world who can’t get married. There are still places where people are killed for being gay.

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Some people don’t know the history of Pride. One year after the Stonewall Riots, over 2,000 LGBT people and allies marched from Greenwich Village to Central Park in New York City. Drag queens marched in all their regalia, butch bull dykes with signs said, “I am your worst fear, I am your best fantasy.” The march was to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Stonewall, during which drag queens and LGBT people finally had enough of the police raids and fought back.

By celebrating Pride, we show the world that we are proud of who we are, where we are going, what we are doing. The parade lets people know that we will never forget the persecutions that our community had to endure simply for loving someone of the same sex. LGBT Pride is about being free to love who we want and being able to hold whoever’s hand we want when walking down the street. It’s about not being scared, or closeted. It’s about being free and unapologetically you!

But we still have work to do. Be sure that you are registered to vote. With the most recent attack on transgender people in the military, this is one of the most important votes you will ever make in protecting yours, and your brothers’ and sisters’ rights. Just like the days of Stonewall, as a community, we are stronger together!