person carrying pride flag in front of government building

Pride Month 2020

For 51 years Pride Month has been a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community’s fight to get the love, acceptance, and equality they deserve. Even though Pride celebrations across the country have been canceled due to COVID-19, we do have something big to celebrate this month.

On June 17, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County, that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Only 23 states in the Union had codified laws protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ employees before this landmark decision. People could, and did, lose their livelihoods simply because of who they are, who they love, or how they identify. This historic decision ensures change that is powerful and long-lasting.

This is the second major ruling in favor of LGBT rights from the Supreme Court in recent years. In 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruled that LGBTQ Americans have a constitutional right to marriage equality.

The protection of citizens’ civil liberties is hard-won, and we thank and applaud all the selfless people that have come together to make this happen. But Bostock v. Clayton County is not the finish line, rather it’s another positive step forward on the path to equality and affirms that all people – including those in the LGBTQ+ community – deserve respect, justice, and mercy.

Pride is celebrated in June every year to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising, often cited as the catalyst for the modern-day gay rights movement. On June 28, 1968, a police raid on the historic Stonewall Inn in New York City sparked a riot that led to six days of protests. LGBT people were tired of being persecuted and were not safe to be themselves in public or even in their own homes. The events of the Stonewall Uprising inspired the creation of many organizations that would go on to foster the systemic changes we are witnessing today, like Gay Liberation Front, Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD (formerly Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), and PFLAG (formerly Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). These organizations, along with countless individuals who came out and lived authentically at great personal risk, and allies who stood up for what is right have paved the way for equality. Change happened at every Pride celebration over the last 50 years where people showed up, knowing they could lose their jobs, housing, and even families just for being there. This progress is the result of endless acts of bravery over decades. People risked their lives to make this happen. The individuals and organizations that pushed this issue to the forefront aren’t solely activists, they’re survivors of injustice.

Mercy Housing will continue to ensure that the communities we serve and the neighborhoods we are a part of embrace and support the LGBTQ+ community. Not being homophobic isn’t enough. Actionable steps are required on everyone’s behalf. Mercy Housing is proud to partner with organizations like Openhouse to continue our efforts to create LGBTQ-welcoming communities. Mercy Housing has long embraced and supported the LGBTQ+ community, and it is our promise as an organization to always look to grow and evolve our pursuit of equity, inclusion, and diversity.

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