“Words cannot adequately encompass the feelings of grief I am feeling for the loss of so many of our LGBTQ and allied brothers and sisters in Orlando... For too long, our community has been the target of violence throughout the world. It will never make sense to me that love is met with such hate,” Seattle Mayor Ed Murray in reaction to the June 13th mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.
On June 13, 2016, 49 people were killed and several more were injured in a horrific mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. This crime, while being called an act of terrorism, was also a hate crime targeted against the LGBTQ community. It also happened during a month that has been dedicated to celebrating equality and the LGBTQ Community - Pride Month.
All of us at Crime Victim Advocacy Program want to take the time and space to acknowledge the horrific events that occurred in Orlando. Our program staff is dedicated to focusing on unity, tolerance, love and respecting all diversity.
June is Gay Pride Month, also commonly known as Pride Month. Gay Pride Month is celebrated all around the nation including right here in Cowlitz County. While Gay Pride Month is a chance to celebrate our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) community, it is also a chance to bring awareness to our community about the kinds of targeted crimes the LGBTQ community face.
Crime Statistics in the LGBTQI Community
-A 2015 Hate Crime Report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigations reported that 21 percent of hate crimes committed in the United States were crimes related to the victim’s sexual orientation, gender and gender identity.
- According to the FBI’s 2014 Hate Crime Report, law enforcement agencies reported 1,178 hate crime offenses based on sexual orientation basis.
- According to the same FBI report, 109 offenses in 2014 were due to gender identity bias. Of those 109 victims, 69 were transgender and 40 were anti-gender nonconforming. Gender bias crimes in 2014 tripled from 2013.
It is important to note that this data is based only on crimes that were reported. Crimes against the LGBTQ community are highly under reported. Crime Victim Advocates support and validate all victims of crime, whether it was reported to law enforcement or not. Crime Victim Advocates are also trained in on the dynamics of crimes specifically targeted toward the LGBTQ community.
Why is June Pride Month?
In the 1950’s and 60’s there was a bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village called “The Stonewall.” It was a gay bar where men and transgender individuals who were usually married and outwardly “straight” felt safe going.
Throughout the 50’s and 60’s, police would raid the bar and put whoever was in it in a police wagon. They’d threaten the men with exposure unless they paid a sum of money to walk away. In most, if not all instances, the money was paid.
But on June 27, 1969, when the police came to raid the bar, a group of patrons in the bar protested the unfair treatment and discrimination and said they would no longer be paying money to the police.
The bar, which has since closed, was never raided again. From that point forward, people took pride in whom and what they were.
The gay pride flag was designed by Gilbert Baker, who is said to have taken the inspiration for the flag from the civil rights and hippie movements. The flag was debuted at the 1978 San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Day Parade. It’s colors, always shown in the following order, symbolize the following:
Red symbolizes life, orange symbolizes healing, yellow symbolizes sun, green symbolizes nature, royal blue symbolizes harmony and violet symbolizes spirit. (This history of June Pride Month was provided by www.common-grnd.com)
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