Every year, the month of June is celebrated as Pride Month for LGBTQ communities and their allies across the globe.
During this year’s celebrations, LGBTQ communities are also taking time to observe the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay and transgender community against an early morning police raid on June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. This incendiary response to years of police and societal mistreatment sparked the beginning of the LGBTQ rights movement in the United States and beyond.
“Stonewall is a symbol of our community’s determination to stand tall in the face of enormous challenges, bravely demand dignity and justice, and relentlessly fight to make the world a better place for all. Fifty years after the Uprising, we’ve made remarkable strides toward equality both in the laws and in the eyes of our brothers and sisters. I am so proud to stand alongside my husband and family to celebrate the triumph of love and understanding over discrimination and bigotry.
“But this progress is incomplete. Homosexuality is still illegal in over 70 countries around the world, in some even punishable by death. Our fight for gay rights today is also part of the fight against HIV. Almost half of all new HIV infections globally occur in people who are marginalized because of who they are or who they love: people who lack access to lifesaving health care; people who don’t know about the importance of getting tested and knowing your status. For many of these people, stigma and discrimination remain major obstacles to getting the care and support they need.
“As we celebrate today’s milestone, let us also recommit to defeating stigma and bringing down the barriers that stand in our way of global gender equality – the same barriers that prevent us from ending AIDS once and for all. Making homosexuality legal under the law recognises a basic human right. So too does making access to HIV prevention and treatment available to all so that no one gets left behind. We have shown how much we can achieve. Now, together, let us make the fight for sexual equality a thing of the past.”
On June 6th, New York City’s LGBT Community Center launched Stonewall Forever, a Living Monument to 50 Years of Pride, an online website and an augmented reality app. These electronic installations enable visitors to explore the legacy of Stonewall through curated historical content and then add their own story to the ever-growing monument.
Elton and David Furnish have contributed a video to the Stonewall Forever project with the following statement:
“Hello. Happy World Pride Day! The Stonewall Uprising demonstrated our community’s determination to stand tall in the face of adversity. Fifty years on, like so many others, we are incredibly proud to celebrate the triumph of love and understanding for our marriage and our family. But our fight is not over. Homosexuality is still illegal in more than 70 countries. That stigmatises people. It blights their life and shuts down their access lifesaving services – like HIV care. That’s why gay men are 19 times more vulnerable to HIV than the general public. As we celebrate how far we’ve come, let’s resolve to end discrimination everywhere…especially where homophobia threatens people’s lives. We’ve already come so far. Let’s make sure no one gets left behind. Thank you.”
Please join Elton and David and many others by visiting stonewallforever.org and adding your piece to Stonewall Forever, a Living Monument to 50 Years of Pride.