Honoring LGBTQ+ Pride Month
Posted by Dean Spade (he/him) Professor of Law Wismer Professor for Gender and Diversity on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 at 8:50 AM PDT
Dear Campus Community:
Creating an inclusive community means sharing our stories from a variety of perspectives. To mark the beginning of Pride Month, we have asked our 2021-23 Wismer Professor for Gender & Diversity Studies, Dean Spade, to offer his reflections on what this month means to him. The Office of Diversity & Inclusion invites our community to celebrate our differences along with all that brings us together. As always, we offer deep gratitude to Professor Spade for sharing his perspective and trust that you will receive his words with openness.
Dean Spade, 2021-23 Wismer Professor for Gender & Diversity Studies:
Annual Pride celebrations mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion: In June 1969, at a bar called the Stonewall Inn in New York City, queer and trans people fought back against the ongoing violence they faced at the hands of the police. Since that time, queer and trans people have gathered to commemorate that resistance and celebrate our vision for sexual and gender liberation. At Pride events, we rejoice in our survival, we combat stigma and isolation, we mourn our dead, and we foment ongoing resistance.
In the half-century since Stonewall, much has changed for queer and trans people. Social norms, media representations, and some laws have reduced the stigma associated with our communities. However, poverty, housing insecurity, discrimination, and violence are all still a reality for queer and trans people, especially trans people of color, queer and trans immigrants, and queer and trans people with disabilities. Police harassment and violence, as well as brutal violence in prisons, jails, and detention centers, remain a central source of harm for queer and trans people.
2022 Pride season marks two years since the historic uprising against anti-Black racism and police violence that followed the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Queer and trans people were on the front lines then, and are still on the front lines of work to defund police, close prisons, support prisoners, and stop prison expansion. Given our community’s historic and ongoing criminalization, it is not surprising that queer and trans people, especially Black and Indigenous people and other people of color like Angela Davis, Miss Major, Andrea Ritchie, adrienne maree brown, Mia Mingus, Alisa Bierria, Angélica Cházaro, Tourmaline, Nikkita Oliver, and Beth Richie have been some of the leading activists and thinkers in movements for police and prison abolition.
As the weather warms up and we move toward Pride, I hope that all of us in the Seattle University community are reflecting on how we can plug into the legacy of queer and trans liberation by directly supporting our queer and trans siblings who are currently endangered by poverty, criminalization, and immigration enforcement, and how we can join the grassroots work to get to the root causes of the crises facing our communities. Queer and trans people belong on the front lines of fights to stop climate change, ensure that everyone has housing and healthcare, end colonialism, stop war, and end gender-based violence. We have always been proud to struggle for justice together, and our creativity, care and fierce determination are needed now.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion has compiled some educational resources, zoom backgrounds, activities, and events related to Pride Month at lCelebrating PRIDE. Here at Seattle University, we look forward in a special way to honoring and congratulating our LGBTQ+ 2022 graduates at the Lavender Graduation celebration on Friday, June 10.
Dean Spade (he/him), Professor of Law, Wismer Professor for Gender and Diversity Studies (2021-2023)