Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. While there were previous riots and attempts to fight back (look up the Compton Cafeteria Riots, also led by transgender activists), this was the one that captured national and international attention and paved the way for pride events, marches, and parades around the world.
If you've had a moment to go to New York City in the past couple of weeks, you have probably felt the energy swirling around the Stonewall Inn. In 2016, it was made a national landmark. A historic moment. This year, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera were honored with statues for their contribution to gay civil rights. And it is fitting that these two icons were honored. They both went on to found STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) to help trans, gay and lesbian kids who were on the street.
40% of the youth on the street today are LGBTQ, and LGBTQ youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness.
We've got work to do. Not only in continuing the work on civil rights, but also to ensure that all children and youth are safe, loved, and know that they are supported in however they decide to express themselves: gay, trans, lesbian, straight, questioning - queer. Love them. Protect them. Nurture them. Encourage them.
True Colors United is a national organization that " implements innovative solutions to youth homelessness that focus on the unique experiences of LGBTQ young people."
And, if you're in Atlanta, Lost-n-Found Youth "exists to end homelessness for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ+) and all sexual minority youth."
We can honor the legacy of the Stonewall riots by not only taking up the mantle of their activism for civil rights (HRC Atlanta and other organizations for example) but also taking on the mantle to ensure our LGBTQ+ youths are taken care of. The biggest step we can take to start ending homelessness for LGBTQ+ youth - as families, friends, and mentors- is to start loving them and accepting them, at an early age for whomever they may be or become. Love them, and love them unconditionally.
Happy pride, and happy Stonewall.
The Duchess of Grant Park