The month of June is all about celebrating and recognizing the LGBTQ+ community, highlighting their place in our history, ensuring their safety in the present, and allowing them to flourish in our future. The LGBTQ+ community is a prime example of community support and action. We can look up to the ways in which the LGBT+ community has fiercely supported its members, allowing them to become what they are today.
The AIDS Memorial Quilt
The AIDS memorial quilt was a way to bring awareness to the lives of those fighting AIDS. It helped humanize the victims of AIDS. Where gay men couldn’t advocate for themselves, lesbians stepped up, teaming up to sew together quilts that carried a memorial of those afflicted with AIDS. The AIDS memorial quilt is a touching show of intra-community support.
The Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, or STAR, was an organization that provided housing and support to LGBTQ+ homeless youth and other marginalized groups. Founders Marsha P Johnson, a Black trans woman and activist, and Sylvia Rivera, a Latina trans woman activist, are more known for their contributions to Stonewall, but their other work helping transgender youth deserves to be highlighted as well. Their dedication to protecting disadvantaged transgender youth as a community truly shows that it takes a village.
How Can You Be Restorative This Pride Month?
Though these events in LGBTQ+ history have happened outside our city, there is plenty to do to further support LGBTQ+ individuals in our own communities. Here’s what you can do to be restorative this Pride Month and reinvest in your community.
Find Out More About Your Local LGBTQ+ Organizations.
Do some research on some of the wonderful queer-centered organizations in the area. Buffalo houses so many organizations such as Gay and Lesbian Youth Services (GLYS) and the Pride Center of WNY. It helps to know where they are and what services they offer, should you or anyone you know ever need it.
Donate to a local organization by pour money back into your own community by giving what you can to a local LGBTQ+ organization, so they can continue to do good work.
Volunteer! What better way to help your local LGBTQ+ community than with a helping hand. By volunteering, you can deepen your ties to these organizations and help understand the real world problems that LGBTQ+ individuals face.
In conclusion, the fight for liberation of LGBTIQ+ folks were challenging but reached far because of the ties within its own community and outside." The ability to take care of one another and uplift the voices of those who have been silenced is exemplary of the kinds of communities we want to build. Pride Month is about taking pride in the LGBTQ+ individuals who came before us and fought to make a safer world for us all and making them proud as we continue to carry the torch. It is the actions of individuals that further their communities and communities protecting the individuals within them that we honor in this month.
Massage from the writer, Abuk Majok ...
As one ECRJC’s seasonal employee, celebrating Pride is an important part of me and Buffalo. I’ve walked in the parade and watched the parade, and watching both old and young come together to celebrate LGBTQ+ individuals is a testament to how strong our community is. LGBTQ+ history is U.S. history, and Buffalo history as well. I feel our city’s history is so deeply intertwined with the LGBTQ+ community whether it be Allentown or the Mattachine. Keeping history alive is an important way of preserving community.