June is Pride Month
By Kelly Sargent
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and nonbinary people, communities and relationships have existed since long before these terms became familiar to most of us. Historians agree that there is evidence of same-sex love in every documented culture from as far back as Ancient Greece.
Well-researched studies of animal sexual behavior have revealed that from insects to reptiles to primates, same-sex coupling is relatively widespread across all animal groups, with bisexual and homosexual behavior patterns existing in more than 450 species.
In the Western world, however, lack of knowledge combined with fear resulted in persecution and murder of people who didn’t fit proscribed gender roles. In Germany repression of homosexuals began within days of Hitler becoming Chancellor. In the Nazi effort to ‘purify’ German society, an estimated 100,000 men were arrested as homosexuals. Many thousands of them were either put to death or died in prison.
In the United States, misinformation exacerbated by Puritanical thinking spawned hatred. As early as 1624, a Virginia Colony man was tried and hanged for being homosexual. During the Red Scare of the 1950s, right wing Cold War hawk Senator Joe McCarthy and his closeted gay sidekick, attorney Roy Cohen, intertwined communism and homosexuality as national security threats. Gays were hunted down, outed and forced to resign on charges of “immoral conduct”.
In 1953 President Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose trusted post-wartime staffer identified as a lesbian, nevertheless issued an executive order banning homosexuals from government employment including in the military, as a threat to national security.
In general those who didn’t conform to traditional male-female behavior were shamed, shunned, belittled, vilified and denied employment, health care and other benefits. It’s no wonder that people hid ‘in the closet’.
Gradually society is evolving to be more inclusive and just for non-traditional individuals. June was officially recognized by the US government as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month in 1999. In an effort to eliminate prejudice and celebrate the diversity of America, President Barack Obama added the B and T (bisexual and transsexual) in 2011 to make it LGBT Pride Month. President Joe Biden has since added Q+ to the name. Elsewhere in the world, Pride is celebrated at different times of the year, but many cities observe it in June.
Though individual states’ numbers vary, the percentage of LGBTQ adults in the US has doubled from 3.5% in 2012 to 7.1% in 2022, according to a recent Gallup poll. And as the youngest Americans slowly outnumber and replace the oldest, Gallup predicts the number of LGBTQ-identifying adults will increase at a much faster rate than past generations.
Tucker Law supports diversity and fair treatment of all people regardless of race, gender, religion, creed, age or sexual identification and orientation. If you feel you’ve been discriminated against in the workplace, reach out to us.
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