June is always a special time at GLIDE. It’s Pride Month, and GLIDE is Pride. For decades, we have been leading with love and driving progress in the LGBTQ+ community – our community. We began by opening our doors when other doors were closed. We welcomed all into our safe, unconditionally accepting space to feel love and to learn what it means to love ourselves. We stood on the front lines of the movement for LGBTQ+ rights, demanding equality and acceptance, and showing what true diversity and inclusion looks like. Embracing those rejected by their families. Fighting for those harassed by law enforcement. Officiating same-sex unions. And providing comfort and solace during harrowing times of loss, particularly during the AIDS crisis.
Today Rainbow and Progress flags fly high, and in more places than ever. We have won long-fought battles towards marriage equality, transgender rights, access to healthcare and representation. We now have a president who knows that trans rights are human rights – a president who has appointed Dr. Rachel Levine to a key role in his administration. White House executive orders recognize sexuality and gender identity in sex discrimination statutes, protect queer and trans people from workplace bias, and strike down a previous presidential ban on transgender people serving in the military. And most recently, the Biden administration designated the site of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando as a national memorial.
Yet, alongside these advances, strong forces are at work to undermine progress. More than twenty anti-LGBTQ+ measures have become law across states like Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, West Virginia, and Tennessee. These bills ban transgender girls from playing sports, prevent hormone therapy for transgender youth, and prohibit transgender people from correcting their birth certificate gender. The scope of these new laws is growing, with more insidious techniques to limit the full expression and participation of the LGBTQ+ community. We have learned from the reproductive rights and voting rights movements the power of state laws to chip away at fundamental freedoms. These anti-LGBTQ+ measures are born out of continued bias and divisiveness in our nation and underscore the reality that the fight for equality for all must continue, unwavering.
June is a month to celebrate, not just our victories, but all we have been through together in the fight. At GLIDE, we know that change can be revolutionary when it is born out of unconditional love and inclusion that influences hearts and minds and builds empathy capable of transforming perspectives and actions. Until we see this kind of transformative change take root across this country and the world, we will continue to wage this battle for equality.
In love and solidarity,
Karen J. Hanrahan
President & CEO, GLIDE