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  • Writer's pictureEmily Sklodosky

Happy Pride Month!

June 14, 2023. Happy pride month to everyone! This month is not only about celebration and support for the LGBTQIA+ community, but also a reminder of the past, as well as a reminder that we still need to fight for the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals to receive equal rights and not be in constant fear of losing them or being harmed.

Throughout the 1940s-60s, members of the LGBTQIA+ community had to hide their identities for fear of losing their job, harassment, and even being arrested for being “sexual deviants”. For example, in December of 1950, a Senate report. Entitled “Employment of Homosexuals and Other Sex Perverts in the Government” was distributed to members of Congress. The report characterized homosexuality as a mental illness, deeming homosexuals a security risk. More than 4,380 LGBTQIA+ men and women were discharged from the military, and around 500 were fired from their government jobs in what was known as the “lavender scare.”

It was not until June of 1969, when police officers attempted to raid the Stonewall Inn, that things began to change, and the gay rights movement began.

At the time, the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in New York City, was one of the few to welcome transgender individuals and drag queens. A place that allowed members of the LGBTQIA+ community to be themselves – holding hands, kissing, and even dancing. These expressions actually were illegal for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, who were also subject to strict gender appropriate clothing laws enforcing dress according to one’s biological sex at birth.

Patrons were furious that the Stonewell Inn was being raided and with the way they were being treated. As the legend goes, Marsha P. Johnson, a black drag queen and gay liberation activist, threw the first shot glass at Stonewall, known as “the shot glass heard around the world,” sparking a riot and a revolution lasting three days and marking the launch of the gay liberation rights movement.

Since then, the movement has continued to grow. While we thought we were making strides towards equality for all members of the LGBTIA+ community, it is clear from recent events, that we are actually moving backwards. Tragically, the attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community have increased exponentially since the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision was issued on June 24, 2022.

Now, for the first time in our four-decade history, the Human Rights Campaign has declared a national state of emergency for the LGBTQIA+ community. Just from the start of 2023, over 540 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures, a new record. Over 220 bills specifically target transgender and nonbinary people, another record. 45 anti-LGBTQIA+ laws have been enacted so far this year, including laws banning gender affirming care for transgender youth, laws requiring or allowing the misgendering of transgender and nonbinary youth, laws targeting drag performances, laws creating a license to discriminate, and laws censoring school curriculum including books that includes LGBTQIA+ content (For more information on these facts, including the proposed laws and where they have been passed, click here).

For example, just this last month, Florida passed even more anti-trans bills, including the legalized kidnapping of trans youth, providing that if transgender youth receive gender affirming healthcare, the court is legally allowed to take a child from their parent, the healthcare will be labeled child abuse, and parents can be prosecuted. While, thankfully, a federal judge blocked portions of a new Florida law, stating that gender identity is real and the state has no rational basis for denying patients treatment, law has only been blocked temporarily. And while this federal judge ruling is a step in the right direction, numerous anti-trans bills remain pending in Florida, including a ban on all teachers and students from using pronouns of their choice in public schools and a ban on transgender people from using bathrooms and locker rooms in all public schools and state universities other than those that match their biological sex at birth.

Tragically, it is not just Florida; these types of bills are popping up daily all across the country. For up-to-date information, as well as a list of petitions to sign to help prevent these and future anti-LGBTQIA+ bills from becoming law, click here.

However, in order to put an end to the attacks on the rights and lives of the LGBTQIA+ community, we need the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which guarantees equal legal rights for the LGBTQIA+ community, women and girls. With the ERA, these laws, being proposed daily, would not be possible.

That is why we at Shattering Glass have been working to ensure the ERA is published in the US Constitution. The ERA has been passed and ratified by enough states and, as noted by hundreds of constitutional scholars, is currently the 28th Amendment. However, President Biden, like his predecessor, has been blocking the publication of the ERA.

We need your help to fight back and get President Biden to #PublishTheERA. To guarantee equality for all and send a loud and clear message that the attacks end now! We are not going backwards!

Here are some ways that you can help.

If you are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, we here at Shattering Glass thank you for having the courage to be you, for being brave and being resilient. We support you and are fighting for your rights, happiness, and safety. We hope you join us.

Emily Sklodosky, Communications Intern at Shattering Glass, is a senior at Northern Vermont University. Emily will graduate in 2024 with a double major in Business Administration and Animation/Illustration. When not working or attending class, Emily is the president of the Lyndon Dance Ensemble and captain of the Lyndon Stingers. Emily is also involved in other clubs on campus, including participating in the Planned Parenthood chapter at her campus.

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