Happy Pride from Sen. Marko Liias
By Senator Marko Liias | Press Release
As we reflect on the 50th anniversary or Pride this June, it is important to remember that Pride was first and foremost, a protest. It was born out of a deep-set pain and frustration felt by the LGBTQ community about the mistreatment they received from leadership and from law enforcement.
After enough abuse, many in the LGBTQ community stood up and declared that they would no longer stand to be treated as anything less than human beings, equal in every way to the rest of the world. They suffered beatings, incarceration, and worse, fighting for their right to be heard, seen, and respected. Now, 50 years after the first Pride parade in New York 1970, thousands are once again taking to the streets to call for the Black community to be treated with the same respect and dignity as every other community, both here in America and around the world.
The first Pride was started and led by courageous transgender women of color like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. The intersections of the LGBTQ and Black communities are deep and important. Without the two being linked, LGBTQ people would not have the rights that they have today. Now more than ever we need to focus on those intersectional connections and stand with our Black siblings, to fight systems of oppression everywhere. We are not free and equal until we are all free and equal.
I am honored by the sacrifice of the LGBTQ people, especially the LGBTQ people of color, that have come before us. Because of them and because of Pride, I and so many other LGBTQ folks can walk down the street holding the hands of the people we love, not fear for the safety of ourselves or the people we care about, have a family, and be proud of who we are. Pride is also what has given me the opportunity to be a gay elected official in my own community, and has let me run for Lieutenant Governor, to be Washington’s first LGBTQ statewide executive.
Even though this Pride year looks different, we must continue to march and stand in solidarity with other oppressed communities. That, to me, is what Pride is all about.