AFT-Maryland is PROUD to stand in solidarity with our members celebrating this month. Every public employee in our state federation is seen and recognized. We work diligently to make worksites a more democratic and safe place for public employees. That includes supporting LGBTQIA+ workers in feeling protected and included in the labor family. We never want our members to feel compelled to mute or misrepresent their identity at work or anywhere else. Our work serves the public, and LGBTQIA+ workers are part of the public and vitally intertwined in Maryland.
June 1st is the recognized kick-off for the month-long PRIDE celebration. This is an opportunity to loudly and proudly celebrate the diversity of people in the labor family and the larger community. This celebration highlights and appreciates the various gender and sexual identities and orientations that exist within our rich culture. For the LGBTQIA+ community, it is a time to fully live in one’s own skin and share in communal fellowship with others.
Sadly, we’ve seen people use violence and exclusion to express their discontent with the LGBTQIA+ community. From Montana state Representative Zooey Zephyr being denied her place in the House chamber to do the work she was elected to do, to the tragic shooting seven months ago at Club Q in Denver, this violence and exclusion must end. We fail to build a beloved community when we mark some in our community as targets for exclusion and violence.
The celebration we know today did not recently spring up. Much like the labor movement, activists committed to justice have long engaged in the struggle to assert their humanity in the face of a cruel world that refused to see them. As we celebrate Pride this month, we remember Frank Kameny, Irene Soloway,
The battle to be treated with the full dignity every human deserves may not be over, but that does not mean we should not pause to celebrate the work already done. It is work we can all take PRIDE in.