June 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots—a series of demonstrations led by community activists that are credited with sparking the modern LGBTQ liberation movement in the United States.
This year’s anniversary was a significant milestone in LGBTQ communities It was a moment to reflect on the progress of the past, but also to solidify our commitment to the critical work that remains undone. As we celebrate this significant period in history, we must continue to honor and center the stories of those in our communities who remain the most marginalized—especially trans folks, black and brown people, immigrants, and individuals with disabilities.
Check out some highlights of how Philly celebrated with our LGBTQ communities for Pride 2019:
The Office of LGBT Affairs along with the Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs presented the second annual LGBTQ State of the Union at the Kimmel Center to kick off Pride Month in Philly. More than 100 guests attended, with others streaming online to participate in the historic event. This community conversation allowed participants to engage directly with the leadership of Philly’s most prominent LGBTQ nonprofit organizations, learning about their accomplishments and goals for the upcoming year.
Pride Flag Raising and Pride in the Park on Thursday, June 6
Days later, Philadelphia held a double-header event—our annual More Color More Pride flag raising at City Hall, followed by our first-ever Pride in the Park event. Hundreds of LGBTQ Philadelphians and their allies celebrated in LOVE Park enjoying drag, vogue, dance, and spoken word performances. There were even inflatable games and a dedicated youth space thanks to our nonprofit community partners!
Remembering Danté Austin
On the eve of Pride weekend, we lost a brilliant and loving light in our community—Danté M. Austin. As the Deputy Sheriff and LGBTQ Liason for the Sheriff’s Office, Danté’s vibrant soul shined through his commitment to fighting for and protecting youth, trans folks, the homeless population, the queer community, and people of color. Danté united many different groups of people, envisioning a better and loving future. He saw the best in everyone and assured them that they were seen, heard, and loved.
It is an immense understatement to say that Danté’s passing is a devastating loss to our community, but we honor his memory as we continue to fight for all members of our LGBTQ community—especially the most marginalized.
Philly Lights Up Rainbow on Sunday, June 9 and Sunday, June 30
Twice this month (on Philadelphia Pride Day and World Pride Day) the city lit up in rainbow to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month. Some of the city’s most iconic sites showed off their rainbow colors, with Boathouse Row, FMC Tower, the Ben Franklin Bridge, and more participating!
Immigrant Heritage Month Naturalization Ceremony on Tuesday, June 11
The Office of LGBT Affairs collaborated with the Office of Immigrant Affairs to celebrate both LGBTQ Pride and Immigrant Heritage Month in June. We co-hosted intersectional programming focused on the narratives of LGBTQ immigrants living in Philadelphia. One such event was the Naturalization Ceremony, where one of our office’s policy fellows spoke to a group of Philadelphians participating in the ceremony.
Disability Pride Parade on Saturday, June 15
This year, the Office of LGBT Affairs partnered with Disability Pride Philadelphia to offer accessible programming and events throughout Pride Month. One of our favorite events was the annual Disability Pride Parade, which concluded with a rally at the National Constitution Center.
Philadelphia Family Pride Picnic and Arts Festival on Saturday, June 22
In line with our commitment to creating inclusive spaces for all LGBTQ people and their families, we partnered with Philadelphia Family Pride to host the Philly Family Pride Picnic and Arts Festival for the second year in a row!
Philly’s queer families joined us for food trucks, community resource tables, crafts, a juggler, a balloon animal artist, and several performers for a day of family fun in the sun.
New Progressive Police Policy Rollout on Tuesday, June 25
Just before the conclusion of Pride Month, the Office of LGBT Affairs and the Philadelphia Police Department announced a new, historic police policy that has been in the works for over a year. The policy guides police interactions with trans and non-binary individuals.
“50 years ago, the pioneers of our modern LGBTQ movement fought back against the reality of police brutality at the Stonewall Inn. It is significant that just days before the 50th anniversary of that historic night that we as a city honor the early activism of trans, non-binary, and gender non conforming folks, and recommit ourselves to ensuring that all Philadelphians—especially our community members who face higher rates of violence and discrimination—receive the respect, dignity, and protections they so deeply deserve.” Executive Director, Amber Hikes.
Learn more about the policy and its specific changes.