With Pride month coming to a close, we’re able to reflect on the moments of quintessence that is gay pride; parades can be seen all across the country, corporations suddenly become allies and sell things with rainbows on them, and the age old question of “Why isn’t there a straight pride month?” resurfaces, followed along with, “Gay people already have equal marriage, why are you still shoving it in our face?”
Although it is true that 3 years ago America decided it was finally time to give the LGBTQ some kind of equal right, being LGBTQ does exist outside of the U.S. It is still illegal to be gay in over 70 countries, and in 8 of those countries, it is punishable by death. A single country still has to outlaw heterosexual marriage.
In many countries, citizens and activists have decided to celebrate their existence despite legalities. In Istanbul, Turkey, police reacted to a gay pride march with rubber bullets and tear gas. In America, the self-proclaimed ‘land of the free, home of the brave’, its no less dangerous to be open than to be in a country with the death penalty.
In 2016, 49 people were killed and 53 others were injured at Pulse, a gay nightclub (however, let us not forget that the night of the shooting was Latin Night where most of the crowd was Hispanic). More recently on June 26, Anthony Avalos, a 10-year-old boy in Lancaster, was tortured and murdered by his parents when he told them that he ‘liked boys’. On June 16th, a drag queen by the stage name of Ginger Snap was brutally attacked after leaving a gay bar in San Francisco.
Gay pride isn’t just about celebrating sexuality, but it is fight for recognition, equality, a fight for the rights to simply be.