SIETAR USA commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising (also known as the Stonewall Riots or Rebellion). Pride Month, which began June 1st is a time to reflect on the vast cultural change over the past 50 years—it is a time to celebrate the progress in civil rights for the LGBTQ community since the uprising. However, Pride is relevant as long as any discrimination exits and there is still an undercurrent of inequity. Despite many steps forward over the 5 decades, a conscious erosion of civil rights is present in the current administration.
LGBTQ people across the country and around the world celebrate Pride Month with parades, parties, rallies and other events. During Pride Month, gay rights get more attention from news media making it a great opportunity to learn more about the issues and to get involved. SIETAR USA will continue to use the platform of our annual conference in Atlanta to support our LGBT members.
Stonewall, set in the activist decade of the 1960s began on June 28, 1969. The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City's West Village, was the location of the civil protest that began when bar patrons and area residents, tired of harassment allowed by law, clashed with police officers who had come to raid the nightspot. Turbulence and demonstrations continued for the next several nights. Those events were not the first resistance act of the gay rights movement, but they galvanized activism in the United States and around the world, leading to many achievements and ultimately resulting in the Marriage Equality Act of 2015.
SIETAR USA, since its inception, has included and welcomed LGBTQ members who have served on the Board of Directors and presented at the conferences. We have had at least one LGBTQ session at each conference since our first conference in 2000. For example, in the year 2000 in Fairfax, VA Rita Wuebbeler and David Beverly presented a session on Expat Gay Employees: Issues and Concerns. In San Diego in 2017 Rob Pusch and Randall Stieghorst discussed the worldviews of gay men and transgendered persons in their session Strategies for Understanding the Impact of Formative Factors: Gay and Trans Identities. In Spokane in 2010, Randy and Rob were joined by Rebecca Parrilla, Susan Gore, Rita Wuebbeler, and Vivek Saxena to explore the Cultural Values of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities. Many years ago, a GLBT (yes, that’s what it was called) scholarship was established to attract and support members of the LGBTQ community to SIETAR conferences. Further, for many years the Pride Special Interest Group has been the most active SIG.
We are grateful for the contributions of our LGBTQ members in all aspects of the association – from governance to the conferences—and wish them well in their fight for freedom from discrimination, respect, dignity, and their very human rights.
(NYC Pride image by gagnonm1993 from Pixabay)