With Pride festivities gearing up, Richard Swerdlow celebrates unquestioned progress amid a wave of anti-LGBTQ laws and sentiment.
It's June, Gay Pride Month. After two years of COVID cancellation, the San Francisco LGBTQ Pride parade and celebration are back.
I'm still pretty crowd-phobic, so I won't be attending. But I'm glad Pride is back. Pride, despite the glitter and disco music, is still, at heart, a political march protesting prejudice against LGBTQ people. And, in my sixties, I remember when there was more prejudice than pride.
Not so long ago, gay people were legally fired from jobs, rejected by families, harassed and even murdered with regularity. I remember when gay marriage was a comedy punch line, when the only gay people most Americans knew were laughingstocks like Liberace or Paul Lynde. When most countries had laws against consensual adult same sex relationships. Even now, around 22 transgender people are victims of fatal violence every year in the United States.
But times are changing and I'm amazed by the shifting attitude towards LGBTQ people. High schools now have programs for LGBTQ students, and gay people serve as members of Congress, governors, and elected leaders of nations including Ireland, Belgium, Serbia and New Zealand. The CEO of one of the world’s most valuable companies - Apple - is an out and proud gay man.