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Days ago, right as we all geared up to celebrate Pride Month, the United States Supreme Court delivered some gut-wrenching news. In its highly anticipated Masterpiece Cakeshop decision, SCOTUS ruled 7-2 in favor of shop owner Jack Phillips, who had refused to make a cake for a gay couple for their 2012 wedding celebration, citing religious reasons.
While many experts attempted to calm the nerves of LGBTQ people by citing the narrow scope of the case — meaning the ruling exclusively pertains to this case alone and doesn’t set a broad, nationwide ruling on discrimination policy — one can’t help but feel let down. A door has been opened whether we like it or not, and more cases will come forward. (Keep an eye on the Arlene’s Flowers case, a similar case set to come before SCOTUS this year.)
Under the Obama administration it felt like the LGBTQ community made leaps and bounds: same-sex marriage was legalized in the United States, Truvada become approved as a means of HIV prevention and so much more.
Now, however, the Trump administration is attempting to slowly fade the LGBTQ community into obscurity, stripping us of resources, literally erasing us from government websites, palling around with homophobes and failing to recognize Pride Month for a second year in a row.
But that’s not the only reason it’s necessary to celebrate Pride. All across the world there are atrocities being committed against members of the LGBTQ community. We need to stand up on behalf of those who are unable to stand up for themselves. We need to march for those who could be killed for marching.
Here are 8 reasons why we need to celebrate Pride now more than ever.
1. It’s illegal to be gay in over a third of countries across the globe.
As of August 2017, 73 countries as well as five sub-national jurisdictions have gay criminalization laws, most of them in Asia and Africa. In at least eight countries, being LGBTQ is punishable by death.
2. People are still being shot for holding hands in the street with their same-sex partner.
In March of this year, a gay couple was shot in Mexico for holding hands in public. Nothing more. The gunman didn’t even say a single word to the couple. The California couple was vacationing in Puerto Vallarta at the time of the attack.
3. Same-sex marriage is being revoked.
In February of this year, Bermuda became the first country in the world to repeal legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry. While that decision was just ruled unconstitutional and the fate of gay marriages in the island is currently up in the air, it sets a dangerous precedent for other countries to follow suit.
4. Chechnya’s deadly anti-LGBTQ purge is now over one year old.
While not in the news as much as it was a year ago, the purge of gay men in Chechnya is still going strong with no sign of stopping. In April of this year, Belgium revealed that it gave five humanitarian visas to gay men fleeing the violent anti-gay Chechnya purge.
5. Beirut Pride was canceled after its head organizer was detained and threatened by police.
As Hornet reported, last year Lebanon became the first Arab country to celebrate Pride. And this year’s Beirut Pride was planned as a nine-day series of events in Lebanon’s capital. But after its lead organizer was detained by police, Beirut Pride was canceled.
6. Trans women continue to be murdered in the United States at an alarming rate.
Trans women, and in particular trans women of color, are being murdered in the United States. Already this year at least a dozen trans women have been murdered. In 2017, advocates tracked nearly 30 deaths of transgender people in the United States due to fatal violence. Many aren’t ever recorded.
7. The White House has ignored LGBTQ Pride Month for the second year in a row.
On the surface maybe it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal that the White House ignored LGBTQ Pride Month. But there’s something to be said about the mindset of an administration that favors other proclamations, such as “National Ocean Month” and “National Homeownership Month,” rather than acknowledge our community.
8. We can’t even buy a cake.
When you think about the recent SCOTUS ruling in its simplest form, gay people couldn’t buy a goddamn cake. What does that say about the plight of LGBTQ people in the United States in 2018?
For all of these reasons and so much more, it’s necessary to celebrate Pride this year. And let’s never forget the first Pride started as protest. It was a march to stop harassment and discrimination committed against LGBTQ people on a daily basis. This year, let’s get back to our roots. Let’s remember why it’s important to march in the streets, and let’s march for those across the world who are prohibited from doing so.