Iris Dimmick / Rivard Report
It wasn't that long ago when many states, including New York, had laws prohibiting homosexuality in public – even private establishments were regularly raided and shut down by police. The June 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan are considered to be the catalyst for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community's movement for equal rights in the U.S.
Cities across the nation celebrate National LGBTQ Pride Month in June, officially designated so by the White House, to remember the stand that thousands of the LGBTQ community took against discrimination throughout the city and beyond. The riots began on June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village, when group of gay customers took to the streets to protest police harassment.
The riots sparked the creation of LGBTQ advocacy groups around the nation, encouraging the community to form a united front against discrimination.
The San Antonio LGBTQ community and allies are coming together to host several community-building and awareness events in June – however the biggest event (and one of the most symbolic displays of LGBTQ community support in San Antonio), the 2015 Pride "Bigger Than Texas" Festival and Parade, will actually take place on July 4. Here are some events to put on you calendar this month:
Saturday, June 6: San Antonio Family Pride Fair, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Everyone is invited to this inaugural event at the historic Market Square, 514 W. Commerce St., to "learn in a relaxed and festive atmosphere about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender programs and services available in the community." The event, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., will include live music, food booths, and more family-friendly activities and is sponsored by the City of San Antonio's Department for Culture & Creative Development and Parks & Recreation in partnership with a host of local LGBTQ organizations and supporters. Click here for more information.
Friday, June 12: Uptown Studio's Night of Music and Art
Stephan Gaeth, Uptown Studio owner, and local gay rapper Chris Conde are bringing live music, dance, and visual art together for "Queers 'n' Beers," an evening that will benefit Pride Center San Antonio on Friday, June 12, 8 p.m. to midnight.
San Antonio Public Library Celebrates Pride Month
The San Antonio Public Library (SAPL) is hosting several events at various locations throughout Pride Month. SAPL also aims to provide a safe, informational space for the LGBTQ community and for those looking to learn more through its June and year-round programming. SAPL is focusing on local and visiting artists "who have contributed to the richness of the arts and humanities in San Antonio."
This year's schedule provided by SAPL:
Tuesday, June 2: Come Out
The official Pride Month kick-off event, COME Out will take place on Tuesday, June 2, at 6 p.m. at Central Library. This annual panel discussion features the coming-out stories of local members of the LGBTI community. This year’s panelists include: bassist Jenn Alva (Girl in a Coma), multimedia artist Jade Esteban Estrada, Dino Foxx (SA Burlesque Festival), performer Saakred and drag luminary Tencha La Jefa. The panelists will share their stories with the audience in a relaxed and informal setting. SAPL partners with PFLAG San Antonio (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays) for this event and other programs throughout the month of June.
Wednesday, June 10 & Saturday June 27: Rock Out
Get ready to Rock Out at the Igo Branch Library and at Central Library. The first Rock Out will take place at Igo on Wednesday, June 10, from 6-7 p.m. and Central brings back Rock Out on Saturday, June 27, at 10:30 a.m. Bring a chair, or a blanket, and your favorite beverage, as LGBTI local performance artists and musicians share their unique perspective and music. Alyson D. Alonzo, Chris Conde, and friends Rock Out for Pride.
Wednesday, June 10: Work Out
Westfall Branch Library will host Work Out, a networking event, on Wednesday, June 10, starting at 6 p.m. Is your company serious about initiating a change initiative to recruit a diverse workforce? Recruiting for diversity in the workplace doesn’t just create a more open environment – it offers multiple benefits for a business. When employees feel connected to the culture and community within the workplace, companies report higher productivity rates. Coming together as business leaders, entrepreneurs and community allies for the fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people, is crucial to economic competitiveness. SAPL partners with Equality Texas, LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and Texas Competes for this event.
Sunday, June 14: Watch Out
Watch Out with the showing of the “Dallas Buyers Club” at the Bazan Branch Library on Sunday, June 14, at 3 p.m. Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner star in this R-rated film, released in 2013. The program is free and open to the public.
Monday, June 15: Break Out
Landa Branch Library will host Break Out on Monday, June 15, at 6 p.m. This program deals with the transgender “coming out” process and other factors that have an effect on that experience. The focus will center on the socioeconomic influence and access to healthcare. The film “The T Is No Longer Silent” will start the program, followed by a panel discussion that will include filmmaker Keith Wichinski , a local-area health provider.
Wednesday, June 24: Cry Out
Cry Out will take place at Great Northwest Library on Wednesday, June 24, at 6 p.m. This is a presentation and lecture by Andrez Y’Barbo of Project Embrace. Y’Barbo will discuss the grieving process that some parents experience when their children “come out” to them.
Every Tuesday: LezMoveSA
LezRideSA, a local coalition of bike, health, and LGBTQ advocacy groups, will host LezMoveSA at Crockett Park at 7 p.m. for exercise at the park for the LGBTQ community and allies. During June, they'll host a free self defense class. Tuesday night events will continue throughout the summer. Click here for more information.
*Featured/top image: Marriage equality supporters wave LGBT rainbow flags at Main Plaza in celebration of the Supreme Court's decision that found Prop 8/DOMA unconstitutional in June 2013. Photo by Iris Dimmick.