By Kevin Ryan
June is Pride Month, thirty days set aside to celebrate the LGBTQ community through connection and visibility. Events across the globe usually dot the calendar as cities, nations and people of all backgrounds and beliefs memorialize and herald those who fought, and still fight today, sacrificing so dearly for the cause of freedom and acceptance. It’s especially important now, in light of current events, to remember that Pride as we know it began with an act of protest from black members of the LGBTQ community.
For those who might not be familiar with the history, June was selected as Pride Month to mark the seminal events that began on the early morning of June 28, 1969, at a small gay bar – the Stonewall Inn – in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City now known as the Stonewall Uprising. This moment, along with a number of events in which LGBTQ citizens demanded human rights like the Compton Cafeteria Riots in San Francisco and the Black Cat Riots on Sunset Boulevard, marked the acceleration of what was known as the Gay Liberation Movement.
Now Pride celebrations are often marked by parades, festivals and fundraisers celebrating the progress that has been made, fueling work yet to be done and enabling a community sometimes hidden to unite and march toward a better future together. In most places, this will not be the case this year. COVID-19 has changed how the month will look, but it will not diminish Pride. Pride is not about the parties.
That is why the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation is, more than ever, committed to celebrating Pride in 2020. Instead of lacing up our marching shoes, we will continue our ongoing and steadfast fidelity to the principals of Pride and the equality movement. We live our purpose by continuing our support of organizations dedicated to helping the LGBTQ community such as:
- The Whitman-Walker Health in Washington, D.C., which offers community-based health care to all with particular expertise in LGBTQ and HIV care.
- The Richmond Ermet AIDS Foundation in San Francisco, CA, is committed to supporting AIDS services until there is a cure.
- The NO/AIDS Taskforce in New Orleans, which helps people living with HIV or AIDS and works to stop the spread.
Furthermore, internal teams across Delta Dental will show their Pride by spending June highlighting LGBTQ organizations and speakers and seizing on Pride as a moment to reinforce our belonging and allyship efforts. We will ensure that we augment our inclusive culture while supporting all members of the Delta Dental community as they experience and cope with our new normal. We will celebrate Pride virtually but robustly.
Pride is a month to remember that history and revel in and salute the diversity, depth and inclusiveness of the LGBTQ community. And, on a personal note, Pride is an important holiday in my house. I will miss the love that permeates at Pride events. I will miss the connection and community. I lament the loss of visibility. Yet, 2020 also presents us the opportunity to have a more reflective Pride. A month that requires more of each of us – members of the LGBTQ community and our allies – to find the connection and belonging that Pride promises. Pride may be different this year, but if we face this new reality and crisis together – not unlike how we have confronted the battle against HIV/AIDS – this too will make us stronger.