June is designated as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. According to the Library of Congress, “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month commemorates the events of June 1969 and works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for LGBTQ Americans.”
What happened in 1969? Patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village of Lower Manhattan, New York, staged an uprising to resist and protest police harassment of LGBTQ Americans. This marked the beginning of a movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against them.
In 1998, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13087 (PDF) expanding equal opportunity employment in the Federal government by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. On June 11, 1999, he issued Proclamation No. 7203 (PDF) for Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, which states: Thirty years ago this month, at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, a courageous group of citizens resisted harassment and mistreatment, setting in motion a chain of events that would become known as the Stonewall Uprising and the birth of the modern gay and lesbian civil rights movement. Gays and lesbians, their families and friends, celebrate the anniversary of Stonewall every June in America as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.
On June 1, 2009, President Obama issued Proclamation No. 8387 (PDF) for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. In this proclamation, Obama pointed out contributions made by LGBTQ Americans, in promoting equal rights to all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and in broader initiatives such as the response to the global HIV pandemic. The President ended the proclamation by calling upon the people of the United States to “turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.”
Other Presidential Proclamations on the annual observances of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Month can be found through American Presidency Project.
In addition to embracing LGBTQ lifestyle choices, many young people today question gender norms and the “binary” nature of the division between “male” and “female.” Some do not wish to be known as or identify with the gender they were born as; others go to lengths to change their gender—something unheard of in previous eras. A film that depicts the first man who sought a gender change and is well worth watching is “The Danish Girl.” I found that it evokes empathy toward those who do not “identify with” their birth gender.
It serves us all to try to understand these changes in consciousness and lifestyles, whether or not we fully understand or support them. Perhaps this is all a part of a larger quest for human liberation from the shackles of prejudice and oppression.
On a different note, June also celebrates World Environment Day (June 5); National Cancer Survivors Day (June 6); Flag Day (June 14); World Blood Donor Day, and the US Army Birthday (June 14); Smile Power Day (June 20). It also commemorates PTSD and Cataract Awareness.
According to another source, June also includes Hug Your Cat Day and National Donut Day (June 4); National Gardening as Exercise Day (June 6); Best Friends Day (June 8); National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day (June 9); National Splurge Day (my favorite!) (June 18); and of course, the first day of summer and the longest day of the year (June 20/21).
If you want to celebrate National Donut Day (any day of the year) see Duncanville donut listings here: https://www.duncanville.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Restaurant-Guide-7-16-2014-CURRENT.pdf
If that’s not enough, here’s another one that is particularly appropriate to mention: Race Unity Day, also known as Race Amity Day, is observed the second Sunday in June. The day was started by the Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly in the United States in 1957, and the goal is to raise awareness of the importance of racial harmony and understanding.
The multi-cultural commission wishes to acknowledge and celebrate diversity of all kinds in Duncanville, and we appreciate everyone’s efforts to do so as well. At the very least, we can all splurge a little, practice tolerance for all lifestyles, and celebrate Smile Power!
May June be a meaningful, productive, fun, and liberating month for all!
Article Submitted by Anne Perry, Commissioner
Multicultural Social Engagement Partnership (MSEP)
Learn more about the Multicultural Social Engagement Partnership.