June 7, 2023

For the past several decades, the month of June has been designated as a time to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and trans, two-spirited, māhū and other non-binary peoples, communities and identities.   

As someone who finally came out to myself and others in 1971—more than 50 years ago—I remember both the fear and relief in finding a place for my full self in the world. There were only two main communities for us at the time—either lesbian or gay. Diversity of gender and sexual identities were lived at the margins not only of society at large but even in the politicized lesbian and gay communities growing out of the 1960s liberation movements. My first Gay Pride march was in San Francisco, and it was such a moving, fun and truly celebratory event.  

I have joined in dozens of Pride marches since then, in small rural towns to major cities like New York, all to mark the importance of being human, to create spaces of safety from bigotry and to embrace the beautiful complexity of life.  

Photo above: Kalei’s daughter Anela with a poster
she created for a march with her 3rd grade class
this month. 

While we enjoy our month of celebrating the diversity of loving relationships and communities, let us also remember that we have a lot of work ahead. The assault on justice, particularly in regards to limiting health care for trans youth, barring drag performers and opposing parenting, fostering and adoption by queer families is intended to limit the human rights of LGBTQIA2 communities.  

Newly enacted legislation that restricts reproductive justice, affordable health care, border crossing, feminist course readings and the right of Native and Black people (especially those who are trans or women-identified) to go about their lives without enduring surveillance and life-threatening danger is also intended to suppress queer communities.   

This June, we celebrate our many accomplishments, achieved through tireless activism. We also honor those who must continue to live in the shadows of hatred across our diverse communities. When I first came out, our rallying call was for gay and lesbian liberation; today, it is for liberation across our many identities and communities. That is what pride means to me this June, and every day of every month until freedom comes.  



Get involved, support UW LGBTQIA+ graduates attending the Lavender Graduation on June 7 and use the resources below for support, information and continued learning.