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LGBTQ+ community in NY demands protection of rights

Don Tagala | TFC News New York

Posted at Jun 29 2022 08:48 PM

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The roar of Dykes on Bikes kicked off New York City’s Pride March, the annual civil rights protest march that celebrates LGBTQ+ rights and equality.  

Formerly called the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, the first march was held in 1970 to mark the first anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, a spontaneous street protest after New York police raided a gay bar now known as Stonewall Inn.

This year's march took place amid an uproar against a Supreme Court ruling on Friday that struck down women's right to abortion. In a concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas said the court should also reconsider its 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage and a 2003 decision striking down laws criminalizing gay sex.

"They’re coming for us; that’s why we’re on the streets. We celebrate but we protest," Jennifer Baquial, Pride lead of the Sirens Women’s Motorcycle Club in NYC, asserted.

For the marchers, LGBTQ+ rights have been under attack. First, Florida’s 'Don’t Say Gay' law prohibits instructions on sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, making it harder for teachers to support their young LGBTQ+ students. Several states have also enacted laws prohibiting transgender athletes from participating in team sports with the gender they identify.

The marchers believe that the decision to overturn women's abortion rights is just the beginning of a possible broader push by the conservative-dominated Supreme Court to curtail other freedoms they fought hard for in the past decades. But the community stressed that they will never stop marching until every single member of this broad coalition is truly free.

"This entire period of time is gonna be crucial for the future. We're in history. People need to educate themselves and we need to be very mindful of who we vote for for our 2024 election, and see the damage that can be caused years after a president leaves office. There's still repercussions for Trump’s administration. We're seeing that today," lesbian Gianna Evelyn argued.

Meanwhile, several Filipinos who joined the parade marched for LGBTQ+ rights and equality in their homeland, the Philippines.

"Sana lahat tayo sa Pilipinas, ma-experience din ang freedom and liberty katulad dito sa US," drag artist Diva Soria said.

(I wish that everyone in the Philippines would also be able to experience the freedom and liberty that we experience here in the US.)

For many, with the new threats to freedom and equality, the annual Pride march just got energized.