Happy Pride Month to all of our LGBT+ readers.
Pride Month is recognized in June to commemorate the anniversary of the June 28, 1969, Stonewall Rebellion in New York City, which most historians consider to be the birth of the modern LGBT movement.
At that time, the psychiatric establishment saw homosexuality as a mental disorder, and law enforcement often viewed it as a crime. LGBT people could be arrested for showing affection, dancing together or not wearing a certain number of "gender-appropriate" items.
Fifty years after the raid, a lot has changed for the LGBT community. The head of the New York Police Department formally apologized for the raid on the Stonewall Inn. In 2010-11, the "don't ask, don't tell" policy barring openly gay individuals from serving in the U.S. military was suspended and then repealed.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has concluded that discrimination in the workplace based on gender identity or sexual orientation is illegal. And the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 ruled that the right to marry is guaranteed not only to heterosexual couples, but also to same-sex couples.
In addition, the increasing number of Pride events that take place here and elsewhere during June is evidence that LGBT individuals are becoming more visible, more accepted in the communities where they live.
But there have been some setbacks for the community, too, and much more work remains to be done to ensure equality for all. The Trump administration should rescind its ban on allowing transgender individuals to serve in the military, as well as its recently announced plans to revoke health care discrimination protections for transgender people.
Congress should pass the Equality Act, sweeping anti-discrimination legislation that would extend civil rights protections to LGBT people by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The protections would extend to employment, housing, loan applications, education, public accommodations and other areas, The Associated Press reported. The Democratic-led U.S. House has already passed the bill, which faces opposition from the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate and President Donald Trump.
The fact is that LGBT individuals are in our community, and they live, work and play here just like everyone else. They are our friends, our coworkers, our neighbors, our relatives. We should be doing everything we can to ensure that they have the same access to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as all of us.