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HOOSER: Celebrating Pride Month

June is Pride Month, dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, their history, achievements and ongoing struggle for equality.

On June 28, 1970, on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, the first Pride marches were held in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Thousands of LGBT+ people gathered to commemorate Stonewall and demonstrate for equal rights. The events of Stonewall and the liberation movements that followed were a direct result of prior decades of LGBT+ activism and organizing. (Source: Meg Metcalf, Library of Congress)

As an ally, what can we do to support the movement and celebrate Pride?

It starts with taking the time to learn more about the history of Pride (and LGBTQ+ history in general) by engaging with various resources, which includes, of course, swinging by our local library to learn more about gender and sexuality.

We should take the time this month to also seek out and read books by LGBTQ+ writers and watch documentaries about LGBTQ+ folks, such as “Disclosure” (Netflix), “Always Jane” (Amazon Prime), “How To Survive a Plague” (Amazon Prime), “A Secret Love” (Netflix), “Pray Away” (Netflix), “Flee” (Hulu)‍ and “Kumu Hina” (PBS).

If you are part of the LGBTQ+ community and were in Hawai‘i and alive in 2009, and or if you are policy nerd interested in LGBTQ+ issues,you will enjoy reading The Saga of House Bill 444 at

It’s been a very rough year in policy for the LGBTQ+ community, especially youth, trans folks, and drag performers. It’s up to all of us to protect and advance the rights of queer folks of all backgrounds — and to do so now.

Unfortunately, ignorance and bigotry is not limited to Florida, Tennessee and Texas. We have our fair share here, also of politicians and community members who are terrified of drag queens and determined to control what books should be on the shelves of our public libraries.

Personally, I think we should trust librarians to fill our libraries with books rather than sidewalk superintendents with too much time on their hands who think they know what’s best for the rest of us.

So, to celebrate Pride Month, give a call to your local librarian and tell them “thank you for standing up for free speech.”

Of course, we should call upon our elected officials to protect and uplift LGBTQ+ folks, and to also leave our books alone.

With the primary election only 14 months away, we should seek out and support those candidates who include in their platform working to improve the lives of all members of the LGBTQ+ community.

There are countless other ways to celebrate and support Pride Month.

Advocate for medically accurate, comprehensive and inclusive sex education.

According to the Center for American Progress, sex education is only legally mandated in 22 states, and of these, only 12 mandate teaching about contraception, and only seven require the information be medically accurate. Comprehensive and inclusive sex education is needed for all students, and helps to decrease levels of prejudice against LGBTQ+ youth.

‍If you’re a teacher, work with your school administration to designate your classroom as an LGBTQ+ safe space and ensure that all students have access to affirming resources about gender and sexuality.

Those of us who have the capacity should make a special effort this month to donate to organizations that support LGBTQ+ folks. They need our financial support now more than ever.

Attend a Pride event. Grab the flag and display it proudly at home and at work.

There’s lots we can do. Now, let’s get on it!

Mahalo to Kamrin Baker and for an exhaustive compilation of excellent resources on the topic of Pride and the LGBTQ+ community.


Gary Hooser is the former vice-chair of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, and served eight years in the state Senate, where he was majority leader. He also served for eight years on the Kaua‘i County Council, and was the former director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control.
Source: The Garden Island

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