It’s Pride Month! The month of June was chosen as LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising, which occurred at the end of June 1969. At the Stonewall Inn in New York City, trans and queer people, many of whom were of color, resisted police harassment. This event galvanized many people to participate in a liberation movement for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer) people. As part of the legacy of Stonewall, LGBTQ people continued to march in the streets for visibility and for freedom. The current Pride parades that we all participate in, grew out of this tradition.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. This Sunday, the Black AIDS Institute will once again participate in the Christopher Street West LA Pride parade. Our founder, Phill Wilson, is this year’s community grand marshal for the parade. We will march behind him with a contingency of more than 12 organizations from South LA. As we march, BAI will carry signs to honor the life and legacy of liberation activist Marsha P. Johnson. Marsha P. Johnson was at the Stonewall Uprising, and later worked to co-found Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), along with Sylvia Rivera, another icon in LGBTQ history. By1980, she was an AIDS activist with ACT UP, and later disclosed that she was living with HIV in 1992.
We are carrying signs to honor her because we understand that we must continue to fight for the rights and freedom of ALL Black people. We stand on the shoulders of Marsha P. Johnson, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, and Pauli Murray, as well as the ancestors whose names we don’t know but who fought to live in their truth so that we might be able to love who we love and thrive in our truths.
Many of the issues that were lifted up during the Stonewall Uprising persist today. I was appalled at the news coming out of Washington, D.C., on the cusp of Pride Month, when the Trump Administration proposed a rule change that would roll back protections from discrimination in health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This is the explicit nondiscrimination provision of the ACA prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in health programs or activities and the only recognition by Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) of protections for transgender people under the Health Care Rights Law.
This rule change would roll back legal provisions in the ACA protecting against discrimination not only based on gender identity, but also on the termination of a pregnancy. We view this proposed reversal as a pointed attack on transgender people and patients who have received abortions, a move by the Trump administration to limit the rights of marginalized populations.
We must remain vigilant in the fight to oppose this change. Health care is not only a critical component of ending the HIV epidemic, but a human right that should be afforded and accessible to ALL people. We encourage you to visit the National Center for Transgender Equality’s (NCTE) and the Transgender Law Center’s (TLC) action page to submit a comment to the Department of Health and Human Services to tell them why you oppose the new rule.
Black Trans Women matter. The murders of Black trans women happening right now highlights the need to ensure that the path to ending HIV responds to the whole personhood. Fighting for the end of HIV has no value if we aren’t also ensuring that Black people are able to live in their truths without fear of violence.
In this issue of Black AIDS Update we continue in the celebration of 20 years fighting the epidemic in Black communities and we get an update on the settlement of Nikko Briteramos and our efforts with Lambda Legal to “Cut the Stigma.”
As always, learn about our upcoming events and see where we’ve been the past month.
President & CEO