How Pride Month Began
The LGBTQ Pride Month is always in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots of 1969. After being marginalized and threatened by police brutality, Americans with LGBTQ identities were only supported by underground establishments. The Stonewall Inn was accepting of the LGBTQ patrons, so they were prone to police raids for violating laws that infringed on the rights of LGBTQ Americans. The Stonewall riots started when the patrons led by Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera fought back against a routine police raid in late June of 1969. This successful riot formed activism groups to fight for the expansion of rights for LGBTQ Americans. The first Pride celebration was held on June 28, 1970, as a means to express their identities, raise awareness of the injustices LGBTQ Americans face, and show the contributions LGBTQ Americans made to society.
Why We Honor the Day of Silence
The LGBTQ activism organization, GLSEN (The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) focuses on protecting LGBTQ students. Crossroads uses the GLSEN resources frequently. Every year GLSEN hosts the Day of Silence. The purpose of the Day of Silence is to demonstrate what life was like when LGBTQ Americans were silenced and severely marginalized by American culture and laws. It also fosters reflection on the impact that the expansion of LGBTQ rights has made on our society. At the end of the school day, students gather to then break the silence.
This year the Day of Silence takes on a new meaning. GLSEN has named the theme of this year’s event “My Silence, My Action” in response to the legislation passed in many state governments across the country that erases the identities of LGBTQ Americans, especially students. The most infamous one was Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill’ that was passed recently and limits the free speech of students and educators at the third-grade level and below.
The Missouri State Legislature has also written bills that discriminate against LGBTQ Americans. Transgender students are the most threatened by the Missouri State legislature. Some of these bills will criminalize the lifesaving gender-affirming care transgender youth need, ban transgender atheltes from competing in school athletic events, and ban limit free speech in classrooms by banning topics that relate to the LGBTQ community in public schools.
The GSA has planned this year’s Pride Week with these current events in mind.
Monday 4/18: Pronoun Day
All students are encouraged to write their name and pronouns on a sticker. We are starting with pronouns because the transgender community is consistently more threatened, especially this year.
Tuesday 4/19: Role Model Day
In the past, GSA has chosen “Historical Figures” as one of the themes. This year we hope to highlight that the activism and contributions of members of the LGBTQ community are still with us. This reflects the sentiment of “Give us our flower while we’re still here” when referring to Transgender Empowerment week which celebrates the intersectionality of the most vulnerable in the LGBTQ community.
Wednesday 4/20: Flag Day
Flags are used in the LGBTQ community to symbolize gender identities and sexual orientations. LGBTQ students are encouraged to bring their flag to school or wear the corresponding colors. Students who are allies to the LGBTQ community are encouraged to wear black.
Thursday 4/21: Current Events Awareness Day
GSA will share our knowledge of the current attacks in State Legislatures on the LGBTQ community in preparation for the Day of Silence.
Friday 4/22: Day of Silence
Students who wish to participate will get a Day of Silence sticker at the door as a sign of their commitment and observance of the day and will remain silent from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. At the end of the day, all students who participated will gather in the lobby to break the silence.