Washington, D.C. – Today (June 1), Congresswoman Barbara Lee celebrated the start of 2019 Pride Month and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots by releasing the following statement:
“Every year, we recognize June as Pride month across the country and celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of LGBTQ Americans. This year is especially important as we mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and a half-century of fighting for LGBTQ liberation.
“On June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, the police arrested LGBTQ patrons on questionable charges, handcuffed them and very publicly forced them into police cars. Fed up with this treatment, the other patrons responded to this police harassment and brutality by starting an uprising outside the bar. Among them were Marsha P. Johnson, a black drag queen, and Sylvia Rivera, a Latinx queen, whom many witnesses credit as the first two to actively resist the police that night. So, as we mark this incredible milestone in American history, we must never forget that it was a movement born out of LGBTQ people resisting to police mistreatment and fighting for equality.
“In the fifty years since that fateful night, we have made significant advances for LGBTQ rights. In spite of our advances, LGBTQ people still face hatred, discrimination, and violence around the country and the world, disproportionately affecting LGBTQ people of color. In 2018, there were 26 transgender women killed in the U.S., nearly all of whom were black women.
“During Pride month and throughout the year, we must embrace the certainty that love is love, and no one should ever have to hide their true self. LGBTQ individuals are our neighbors, friends, and children. They come from all socioeconomic backgrounds, races, and religions. They have shown leadership from our neighborhoods to our warzones, from courtrooms to classrooms, and everywhere in between. The contributions of LGBTQ people are an essential fabric of the United States of America.
“I am proud to be a founding member and Vice Chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus and have spent my Congressional career fighting to ensure equality for LGBTQ people. Last month, it was an honor to join my colleagues to pass the Equality Act in the House that will finally end discrimination against LGBTQ Americans across the country. This landmark legislation reaffirms that freedom from discrimination is a fundamental civil right that belongs to every American, and no American should ever lose their job, their home, or live in fear simply because of who they are or whom they love.
“My hope for Pride Month 2019 is that we can look back on the fight for LGBTQ equality and learn the lessons from our past while looking forward to right our wrongs and embrace and love everyone regardless of our sexuality, gender identity, race, or class. Love is love. Happy Pride!”
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Congresswoman Lee is the Co-Chair of the Steering & Policy Committee, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, and a Senior Democratic Whip. She also serves as Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.