Harris Makes History As 1st Sitting VP To March In Pride Parade

Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff surprised Pride celebrants at DC Pride on Saturday

Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff surprised Pride celebrants at DC Pride on Saturday

Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff made a surprise appearance at the Capital Pride Walk in Washington, D.C. on Saturday.

Harris’s participation made her the first sitting vice president to march in an LGBTQ Pride parade.

From The Advocate:

Harris’s appearance came as a surprise, and the crowd around her cheered, according to a White House press pool report. She and Emhoff marched for about a block down 13th Street, waving and wishing onlookers “Happy Pride,” and stopped to speak to participants and spectators for about 10 minutes.

Harris called for passage of the Equality Act, a comprehensive LGBTQ+ civil rights bill that has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives but has yet to come to a vote in the Senate.

“We still have so much to do,” she added, according to the pool report. “We celebrate all the accomplishments. Finally marriage is the law of the land. We need to make sure that our transgender community are all protected. … There is so much more work to do and I know we are committed.”

Harris and Emhoff were dressed appropriately for the event, Washington’s NBC affiliate reports. She wore a pink blazer and a T-shirt printed with the words “Love Is Love,” while he wore a T-shirt with “Love First” in rainbow letters.

Boston Pride Prez To Resign Amid Turmoil Regarding Lack Of Inclusion

(image via Facebook/BostonPride)

Boston’s premier gay blog – BosGuy – gives a head’s up that the turmoil among folks at Boston Pride is heating up.

Pride board president Linda DeMarco is reportedly stepping down sooner than expected as activists boycott over the lack of diversity and inclusion in the organization.

From the Boston Globe:

Sue O’Connell, copublisher of Bay Windows and a host at NECN, the official media sponsor of Boston Pride, said the discontent has been years in the making.

“The pandemic and the reckoning of our unjust racial past has just claimed the Pride committee because they were unable to actually do the right thing over many, many years,” she said.

Pride celebrations grew out of the June 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York — a violent resistance to police abuse that was led in part by trans women of color. In its later years, critics say, Boston Pride has forgotten its activist mission and become commercialized by corporate sponsors, many of whom don’t share their other social justice concerns.

The long-simmering conflict boiled over last summer, after protests erupted nationwide over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The Pride board rejected a statement drafted by its own communications team and issued a watered-down version without consulting its Black Pride subcommittee members. That was the last straw for many activists who felt Pride’s board was not taking their feedback and was out of touch with their concerns.

The Globe goes on to report that 80% of Pride’s volunteers left the organization in protest over that incident.

 

Get Your Pride On With The Bombas Pride 2021 Collection

(All images via Bombas)

I’m not the kind of consumer who’s generally married to a certain brand. Cost and quality usually drive my buying choices.

One of the few items in our house we do practice brand loyalty to is Bombas socks.

As I’m sure you know from their ad spots, not only are the socks better quality than the average sock (and they really are!) but for every pair of socks purchased, the company donates a pair to homeless shelters.

So, when I was perusing my emails regarding Pride Month merchandise, trust and believe I stopped to read about the 2021 Bombas Pride Collection.

Made in partnership with LGBTQ+ artists Ohni Lisle (she/her) and Daniel Quasar (xe/they), and the Bombas design team, the collection is a vibrant assortment of socks, t-shirts, underwear, and a limited-edition Pride tote bag, marking the first Bombas Pride collection that expands beyond socks.

For the first time, “Bee Proud” is stitched into each Pride item in place of the brand’s “Bee Better” mantra.

Plus, all Bombas.com orders will be shipped in a snazzy new custom Pride polybag packaging through June. The polybag packaging was created in partnership with artist Daniel Quasar featuring the Progress Pride flag design.

Bombas worked with Ohni Lisle (she/her) to create a screen-printed design featured on select Bombas Pride t-shirts. She was inspired by squiggly type humanoid forms that are similar to gestures of people — people meet shapes.

Customers can shop the full Pride collection exclusively on Bombas.com. By the way, just like Pride isn’t out and loud for just one month each year, the Pride collection will be available throughout 2021.

Staying true to the Bombas mission (One Purchased=One Donated), for every Pride item purchased, a specially-designed item will be donated to someone in need within the LGBTQ+ community through three Bombas Giving Partners including:

Casa Ruby (Washington, DC)
Mozaic (Columbus, OH)
Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM)

I don’t endorse a lot of products, but Bombas is a grand slam home run. Check out the 2021 Pride Collection here.

Twitterverse Claps Back As GOP Chair Attempts Pride Tweet

Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel

Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel
Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel

The chairwoman for the GOP, Ronna McDaniel, attempted to send some sort of pro-LGBTQ message for Pride Month.

“Happy #PrideMonth!” wrote McDaniel. “@GOP is proud to have doubled our LGBTQ support over the last 4 years, and we will continue to grow our big tent by supporting measures that promote fairness and balance protections for LGBTQ Americans and those with deeply held religious beliefs.”

Let’s just say it didn’t go well…

Many in the Twitterverse, including Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, chimed in with their thoughts on how ‘big tent’ the Republican party truly is.

As Chasten tweeted, “Re-visit your party’s platform before you open your mouth about pride…”

What To Do When Homeowners Association Says ‘No Pride Flag’

Pride flag flies in the breeze

Pride flag flies in the breeze

While living in a neighborhood with a Homeowners Association (HOA) can often ensure your neighbors probably won’t be painting their house Martian green (no offense to Martians), sometimes the rules can inadvertently step on well-meaning toes.

A Redditor recently posted that their HOA had recently revised the rules regarding flags being displayed outside residents’ homes.

“Due to some neighbors flying BLM flags, thin blue line flags, and other opinion flags, our HOA decided last month that we’re only allowed to fly the USA flag, and nothing else,” wrote the poster. “The day after the decision, we received an email that someone reported our Pride flag (that we had on our house since 2016), and that we needed to take it down. We complied and removed the flag.”

But wait – there’s more!

The poster went on to share that they sat down and studied the full set of rules regarding what is and is not allowable in adorning their house. It turns out removable lights are “permitted without restriction.”

So the intrepid Redditor went out and bought several flood lights and bathed the entire home in rainbow pride colors.

Here’s the result:

House lit up in rainbow lights during Pride Month
(image via Imgur)

The post has received over 81,000 upvotes and 6,000+ comments.

Here’s just a few of the supportive comments on the thread:

“It looks far more beautiful than just a flag. Bravo on your fabulous compliance!”

“Call that Home-O-Sexuality”

“This is awesome. F*ck HOAs”

“No Home-of-Phobia allowed”

“Woah. The lighting is much better than a simple flag imo”

Readers – have you ever been told to remove a rainbow flag or other Pride symbols from your home? If so, what did you do?

Utah: Gov Issues 1st PRIDE Declaration, Rainbow Flag Raised At City Hall In SLC

(image via Twitter)

Well, will wonders never cease?

Utah’s Governor Spencer Cox issued an official declaration recognizing June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. He is believed to be the first governor of Utah to issue such a proclamation.

“We must encourage relevant and vital conversations about what it means to love each other, understand our differences, and support our LGBTQ+ friends and family members,” reads the declaration from Cox.

“We can strengthen resilience in the LGBTQ+ community through family and community inclusion and by providing access to help, and giving them our support, respect, understanding, and friendship.”

Additionally, Salt Lake City’s Mayor Erin Mendenhall took part in a ceremony raising the rainbow Pride flag at City Hall.

President Biden Issues Proclamation Recognizing Pride Month

President Joe Biden issues a statement of full support to LGBTQ+ people on National Coming Out Day
President Joe Biden (image – public domain)

President Joe Biden issued a presidential proclamation today recognizing June as LGBTQ Pride Month.

From WhiteHouse.gov:

The uprising at the Stonewall Inn in June, 1969, sparked a liberation movement — a call to action that continues to inspire us to live up to our Nation’s promise of equality, liberty, and justice for all. Pride is a time to recall the trials the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) community has endured and to rejoice in the triumphs of trailblazing individuals who have bravely fought — and continue to fight — for full equality.

Pride is both a jubilant communal celebration of visibility and a personal celebration of self-worth and dignity. This Pride Month, we recognize the valuable contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals across America, and we reaffirm our commitment to standing in solidarity with LGBTQ+ Americans in their ongoing struggle against discrimination and injustice.

The LGBTQ+ community in America has achieved remarkable progress since Stonewall. Historic Supreme Court rulings in recent years have struck down regressive laws, affirmed the right to marriage equality, and secured workplace protections for LGBTQ+ individuals in every State and Territory.

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act broadened the definition of hate crimes to include crimes motivated by sexual orientation or gender identity. Members of the LGBTQ+ community now serve in nearly every level of public office — in city halls and State capitals, Governors’ mansions and the halls of the Congress, and throughout my Administration.

Nearly 14 percent of my 1,500 agency appointees identify as LGBTQ+, and I am particularly honored by the service of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve in the Cabinet, and Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, the first openly transgender person to be confirmed by the Senate.

Biden goes on to note the many policies from the Trump administration he’s reversed since taking office in January. Among those are charging Federal agencies to fully enforce all Federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, and ending Trump’s transgender military ban.

The president also urges Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would extend existing federal civil rights laws to LGBTQ people.

And he calls on everyone in the country to “recognize the achievements of the LGBTQ+ community, to celebrate the great diversity of the American people, and to wave their flags of pride high.”

Read the full presidential proclamation here.

You’ll recall Trump never issued a proclamation for Pride Month during his time in the White House.

Today: The Lavender Effect’s Star-Studded Virtual Pride Parade

Watch The Lavender Effect Virtual Pride Parade May 30, 2021 at Noon PST on YouTube

Watch The Lavender Effect Virtual Pride Parade May 30, 2021 at Noon PST on YouTube

Come celebrate this year’s PRIDE live with THE LAVENDER EFFECT® Star-studded Live Virtual Pride Parade which will be broadcast today – Sunday, May 30, 2021 – at 12 noon PST/3p EST via The Lavender Effect YouTube channel.

The Virtual Pride Parade, hosted by Alec Mapa, will launch Pride Month and benefit THE LAVENDER EFFECT’s mission to Advance the Future of LGBTQ+ Heritage & Culture.

While many local Pride celebrations again are being canceled or modified this year due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, many members of the community will not be able to gather in person, so this live virtual event will safely bring the LGBTQ+ community together from across the nation to celebrate Pride.

This year marks the 51st Anniversary of the first PRIDE marches across the nation in June 1970, commemorating the anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, and protesting for LGBTQ+ equality.

Last year, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, THE LAVENDER EFFECT® hosted the first “Virtual Pride Parade” to celebrate Pride and bring the LGBTQ+ community together. The live fundraising event featured celebrities, national LGBTQ+ organizations, and politicians, and over 10,000 viewed from around the country.

THE LAVENDER EFFECT® is a nonprofit project of Community Partners that helps to reduce shame, combat homophobia, and empower LGBTQ+ youth through programs like the Virtual Pride Parade, Oral History Projects, and educational programs. For more information, please visit http://www.TheLavenderEffect.org.

Scheduled to take part in today’s virtual event are well-known LGBTQ+ celebrities and allies, non-profits, and activists from around the globe, to help to bring the community together including:

Lily Tomlin (Tony, Emmy and Grammy Winner; Grace & Frankie; 9 to 5)
Judith Light (Tony & Emmy Winner, The Politician, Transparent, Who’s The Boss)
Betty Buckley (Tony Award winner for Cats, Eight is Enough)
Kathryn Hahn (Wanda Vision; Bad Moms)
Sally Kirkland (Golden Globe Winner for Anna)
Doug Spearman (Noah’s Arc)
Alexandra Billings (Transparent)
Bruce Vilanch (Emmy Winner; comedian writer/actor)
Leslie Carrara-Rudolph & “Lolly” (Emmy Winner, Sesame Street)
Michael Musto (journalist)
Jason Stuart (Smothered; comedian)
Maria Gentile (IheartRadio – What’s The Story With Maria)
Drew Droege (Heathers)
Kay Sedia (AJ and the Queen; Chico’s Angels)
Mel England (Best Day Ever)
Charles Busch (Drama Desk Award-winning Playwright & Actor)
Honey West (Proven Innocent)
Miss Barbie Q (Leave it on the Dance Floor, Honey)
Bill Sive (Gay Elder Circle)
Rita Gonzales (Out Agenda)
Cynthia Ruffin (Colors Youth Counseling)
Evan Wolfson (Freedom to Marry)
Gail Rolf (Project 10 & Friends of Project 10)
Harold Kameya & Family (PFLAG Los Angeles)
Lorri Jean from (LA LGBT Center)
Kathy Godwin (PFLAG National)
Lauren Meister (Mayor Pro Tempore, City of West Hollywood)
Sepi Shyne (Councilmember, City of West Hollywood)
John Erickson (Councilmember, City of West Hollywood)
Rabbi Denise Eger (Congregation Kol Ami)
Richard Ayoub (Project Angel Food)
Richard Zaldivar (The Wall Las Memorias Project)
Ron Galperin (City Controller, The City of Los Angeles)
Wayne Besen (Truth Wins Out)
Bamby Salcedo (Trans Latina Coalition)
Kat Kramer (THE LAVENDER EFFECT)
Sheena Metal (THE LAVENDER EFFECT)
Andy Sacher (THE LAVENDER EFFECT)
Dr. Steve Krantz (THE LAVENDER EFFECT)

(via press release)

NYC Pride Reverses On Gay Cops Marching In Parade, Then Reverses Again

The logo for NYC Pride 2021

The logo for NYC Pride 2021

Heritage of Pride, the group that organizes New York City Pride events each year, reversed it’s decision to ban gay armed police officers in uniform from marching in this year’s Pride Parade last night.

The original decision, announced last week, sparked days of controversy voiced by the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL).

So, last night the general membership voted to allow uniformed gay officers to march in the parade

“By a 55-40% margin (5% abstaining), they voted to let GOAL march in uniform with concealed weapons but NOT to have an ‘NYPD’ contingent in the parade,” wrote Andrew Humm on Facebook. “Andre Thomas, the co-chair, resigned as did some other people of color at the meeting who were left in tears.”

But at 1:30am, the HOP board announced they had reversed the reversal, saying they “voted to set a new policy regarding GOAL’s participation in an effort to be mindful and focus on our mission of creating safe space for marginalized communities.”

“It fell under our purview to do so, as elected representatives of this organization,” continued the board. “We firmly believe that this decision is in the best interest of our community.”

Having decided the officers “will not march armed and in police uniforms,” the board shared it may consider allowing gay officers to march out of uniform and without armed weapons.

The Executive Board of HOP cited past actions by police officers against LGBTQ people and POC as the reasons for excluding armed police officers in uniform.

The NYPD, and policing across America, is fundamentally flawed. These are institutions started as slave patrols, and continue to oppress Black, Brown, Indigenous, POC, LGBTQ+ individuals, and individuals who stand at the intersections of these identities.

Over their lifetime, Black men have a 1 in 1000 chance of being killed by the police. LGBQ people are six times more likely to be stopped by the police.

Nearly 3 out of 4 of lethal anti-LGBT hate crimes committed against transwomen and girls.

Transgender individuals who survive violence are 3.7 times more likely to experience police violence compared to non-transgender survivors and7times more likely to experience physical violence when interacting with the police.

Until 2021, transpeople in New York could be arrested for wearing clothes that did not correspond with their sex assigned at birth. And after over 267 complaints related to abuse of force by NYPD when dealing with protesters, only two officers have faced serious disciplinary action.

In the past year, as Black Lives Matter protests spread across the nation following the murder of George Floyd and other Black men, HOP notes that NYC police officers attacked queer people who took part in the protests.

HOP also points out that the gay rights movement was born out of a vicious 1969 police raid on the Stonewall Inn gay bar.

That said, due to pressure from LGBTQ advocacy groups, the NYPD issued an official apology in 2019 for the 1969 raid as well as for years of brutal treatment of LGBTQ people in the city. In their statement last week, GOAL made note of the work being done by gay  police officers to improve relations between police and the LGBTQ community.

As I reported last night, the New York Times editorial board penned an op-ed this week calling the banning of gay police officers by HOP a “misstep.” The Times added that the decision “disproportionately affects L.G.B.T.Q. police officers, many of whom have been fighting for reforms; they shouldn’t be judged, and even set back, by the worst behavior of their colleagues.”

NYC Pride Bans Gay Police Officers From Marching In Uniform

LGBTQ police officers will not be allowed to participate as a group in the annual Pride march, and organizers said they will rely on private security for their events.

I’m not quite down with this decision. I understand the politics, but I think when you want to to be the ‘good guys,’ you have to be the ‘good guys.’

From the New York Times:

New York City’s annual Pride celebration, which began 51 years ago as a defiant commemoration of an anti-police uprising and has evolved into a city-sanctioned equality jamboree, will take steps to reduce the presence of law enforcement at its events.

Starting this year, police and corrections officers will also not be allowed to participate as a group in the annual Pride march until at least 2025. The ban includes the Gay Officers Action League, an organization of L.G.B.T.Q. police, which announced the news in a statement on Friday night.

The New York Police Department will also be asked to stay a block away from the edge of all in-person events, including the march. Heritage of Pride, which organizes events, will instead turn to private companies for security and safety, calling police officers in emergencies only when necessary, they said.