Every year, June marks an important opportunity to honor the resilience of the many intersections of our LGBTQ family, to celebrate our right to love who we love, and to be who we are as our true, authentic selves.
Just as last June marked the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, June 2020 marked a significant milestone for our LGBTQ communities—the 50th anniversary of the first Pride as we know it today.
The celebration of Pride has changed over many years, and in that way, this year was no different. We adapted to a global pandemic, faced continued racial injustice head on, and experienced historical and systemic oppression which has become more pronounced due to rhetoric and policy at the national level—all while also feeling the pain and hardship of collective grief and loss.
This year, we honored and uplifted the voices of those within our community who continue to be most marginalized: transgender and non-binary individuals, people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, elders, youth, and those who live at the intersections of these many complex identities.
Check out some of the ways our Office celebrated, observed, and commemorated Pride Month 2020.
This year—more than ever—we celebrate Pride as protest. We found opportunities to build community, share in our collective experiences, innovate, adapt, and grow together as we have always done despite ongoing hardship and challenges.
Raised More Color More Pride and Trans Pride flags at City Hall
While we couldn’t be together in person, the Office was proud to raise the More Color More Pride flag—first introduced by the Office in 2017, and going on to spark an international conversation about diversity, inclusion, racism, and the intersectionality of queer identites.
We also raised the Transgender Pride flag at half mast, to honor the memory of Dominique Rem’mie Fells, whose life was taken from us in June.
Rainbow building light-ups across the city
Some of the city’s most iconic sites showed off their rainbow colors to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month, with Boathouse Row, FMC Tower, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and more participating.
Celebrated the Supreme Court victory on workplace discrimination
On June 15, the Supreme Court delivered an opinion that affirmed what we in the city of Philadelphia have long known to be true: our LGBTQ communities need and deserve the protection of full equality under the law. In a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court decided that the 1964 Civil Rights Act barring sex discrimination in the workplace also protects LGBTQ employees from being fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
After weeks of mourning following the killings of our trans siblings, we were glad our communities had a victory to celebrate—even if it was long overdue.
For the first time, the City of Philadelphia was closed to observe the holiday of Juneteenth by an Executive Order from Mayor Kenney. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the date when Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas to ensure that enslaved people were freed. The troops arrived two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln.
Community Grief Session
It was with deep sadness that we learned of the passing of a member of our LGBTQ family, Dominique Rem’mie Fells, in June. The pain of such a loss is always difficult, but it was especially deep as we were in the midst of Pride month—a season typically filled with joy and celebration for many in our community. In response, the Office coordinated a virtual Community Grief Session for anyone in the community experiencing grief, sadness, and pain in response to this sudden loss. The session was produced in partnership with the Therapy Center of Philadelphia, the Office of Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs, the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, and the William Way LGBT Community Center.
Updates to “Coping during COVID” Resource Guide
In these times of ongoing uncertainty, it is critical that all information on COVID-19 comes from a trusted source. That is why the Office of LGBT Affairs compiled updates, resources, and critical information related to the COVID-19 coronavirus in Philadelphia. In order to provide our LGBTQ communities with accurate information, the guide is updated regularly for ongoing updates as the public health situation evolves. Check out the latest at “Coping During COVID”.
Upcoming: Community Conversation with DBHIDS
Stay tuned for information about our upcoming event with the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual DisAbility Services, “Community Conversation: Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) LGBTQ+ and Mental Health”. For more information, follow our Facebook page.