Pride Live, a social advocacy and community engagement organization for the LGBTQ+ community, held its third annual Stonewall Day today. In partnership with Pride Media, the annual event raises awareness and support for the Stonewall legacy and the continuing fight for full LGBTQ+ equality.
This year, transgender model and activist Geena Rocero hosted the livestream, which raised much-needed funds for the Ally Coalition, Brave Space Alliance, TransLatin@ Coalition, and Trans Lifeline — organizations that have been hard hit by the global pandemic.
The event, which streamed on Logo's Facebook and YouTube, included important segments on #BlackLivesMatter and the epidemic of violence against trans women, especially Black trans women.
During the event, Pride Live announced that philanthropists Tim Gill and Scott Miller of the Gill Foundation contributed $50,000.
Donations can still be made by texting REBEL to 243725!
Opening the event were Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden in a surprise message. (see video below) In their appearance, they responded to the Supreme Court’s historic ruling last week to protect LGBTQ+ workers against discrimination. They also remembered transgender icons Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera and called attention to violence and discrimination facing transgender people.
"Pride is particularly poignant this year even as LGBTQ rights continue to be attacked. The Supreme Court has affirmed protections for LGBTQ+ people against unemployment discrimination, even as the lives of trans individuals, especially Black trans women, are under threat. We are reminded that Marsha P. Johnson and Silvia Rivera helped bring life to the movement," Joe Biden said. "Against the backdrop of the pandemic and historic protests against systematic injustice and racism, we are reminded of those courageous individuals who first marched decades ago and it’s renewed our hope."
Jill Biden chimed in, "This has been a difficult year and yet we have so many reasons to feel hopeful. In the midst of this pandemic, we have seen our communities come together to deliver groceries and open food banks to those who have lost jobs. With the DACA decision, our Dreamers can breathe a little easier. And after last week’s ruling, Americans can no longer be fired from their job because of who they are or who they love."
She added, "Yes, Pride is indeed different this year. Yet whether we are celebrating from a distance or marching in the streets against injustice, this month reminds us that progress is not waited for, but won. After all, Pride is a protest."
"This has been a difficult year and yet we have so many reasons to feel hopeful," Jill Biden concluded. "In the midst of this pandemic, we have seen our communities come together to deliver groceries and open food banks to those who have lost jobs. With the DACA decision, our Dreamers can breathe a little easier. And after last week’s ruling, Americans can no longer be fired from their job because of who they are or who they love. Yes, Pride is indeed different this year. Yet whether we are celebrating from a distance or marching in the streets against injustice, this month reminds us that progress is not waited for, but won. After all, Pride is a protest."
President Barack Obama also made an appearance (see video below), where he referrenced LGBTQ+ activists like Harvey Milk, Bayard Rustin, and Edie Windsor.
"We’re almost 51 years since the night when the patrons at the Stonewall Inn stood up for their rights and set off one of America’s defining victories for civil rights," Obama began. "Because of the movement they sparked and the decades of work that followed, marriage equality became the law of the land five years ago, and just this month the Supreme Court ruled that employers can no longer discriminate against LGBTQ workers. All that progress is worth celebrating and reflecting on."
"The struggle and triumph for LGBTQ rights shows how protests and politics go hand in hand, how we’ve got to both shine a light on injustice and translate those aspirations into specific laws and institutional practices. So whether we’re fighting to protect a patient from discrimination in the health care system or to combat violence against the LGBTQ community, particularly trans women of color or to link arms with the causes of racial and social justice that have been sweeping the country, I hope you know that your voice can make an enormous difference."
He added, "I hope you all understand what Edie Windsor and Harvey Milk and Bayard Rustin all knew: that progress doesn’t happen on its own. It happens because we stand up, speak out, and demand change. That’s what America has always been about. So keep on protesting peacefully and safely, whether that’s in your home, on social media, or out in the streets. Make sure you’re registered to vote. And most of all never doubt that the democratic story of change that we celebrate today is still possible. Because it is. And if we all do our part in our time, I believe that five years or fifty years from now, folks might gather to commemorate the victories that we all achieved beginning right now."
Singer Demi Lovato, who identifies as sexually fluid, also made an apperance to urge viewers to donate to the cause.
"Fifty years ago, a courageous group of individuals took to the streets of New York to fight for equal rights for the gay community, and they succeed in ushering in a new era of change," Lovato said. "It’s because of moments in our history like these that we know the voices of people have the power to bring an end to injustices. It’s why we’re once again coming together across the nation right now to fight another fight for the equal and human rights of Black Americans. Our nation has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. The last few months have left our queer community in need of lifesaving services. Together, we can support LGBTQIA+ organizations that have been hit so hard by this pandemic."
Katy Perry, who is expecting her first child later this year, used the opportunity during her appearance to touch on a mother's love amid the ongoing pandemic and protests against white supremacy.
"Usually on Pride, I’m thinking, What total banger can I dance to that will fill my heart with joy and reflect the light and joy that emanates from the LGBTQ community?" she began. "But this Pride, I’m focused on ways I can be of service. How can I help the organizations like the beneficiaries Pride Live is recognizing today that need extra support during these trying times?"
She continued, "That mission feels more important to me than ever as I get ready to bring new life into this world. The wish I have for my child is that she'll be happy, healthy, and safe. It’s the same wish every other mother has for their kid. It’s the wish that Treyvon's mom had, and Breonna’s and George’s and Tony’s, and the list is too damn long. I’m here to listen, learn, and take action so that every wish can come true for every family."
Additionally, Taylor Swift spoke about the injustice of people in the trans community face.
"We had a really good step forward recently with the SCOTUS ruling," the singer began, "but we still have so far to go in terms of equality and protections for LGBTQ people and people in the trans community."
"The Equality Act has still not been passed, and that needs to happen. I got my census the other day and they were two choices for gender: male and female. That erasure was so upsetting to me, the erasure of transgender and nonbinary people. When you don’t collect information on a group of people, that means you have every reason in the world not to support them. When you don't collect data on a community, that’s a really brutal way of dismissing them. Obviously we all need to exercise our right to vote this year. We need to check out our absenteee ballots in our states. We need to make sure we elect people that care about our communities."
Lesbian trailblazer and TV host Ellen DeGeneres used her segment to urge people to vote.
"The Stonewall uprising was 51 years ago and without it, the LGBTQ community would not be where it is today," she began. "Now more than ever, we have to continue to fight. We have to fight for our Black men and women who are being killed just for the color of their skin. We have to fight for the trans community, who are losing all their rights to medical care. And we have to help those who have lost everything to COVID-19. Please text REBEL to 243725 to give whatever you can, and then march and rally and vote. Vote!"
Other guests and performers included Cynthia Erivo, Kesha, Hayley Kiyoko, Christian Siriano, Chelsea Clinton, George Takei, as well as Jonny Beauchamp, Dustin Lance Black, Bob the Drag Queen, Sir Richard Branson, Blossom C. Brown, Shea Diamond, Luke Evans, Valerie Jarrett, Stella Maxwell, Imara Jones, Bethany C. Meyers, Eureka O’Hara, and Valentina Sampaio.
Additionally, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Josephine Skriver, Kellen Stancil, Ryan Jamaal Swain, Jacob Tobia, Nico Tortorella, Justin Tranter, Alok Vaid-Menon, Chely Wright, Conchita Wurst and Pride Live Board President Dr. Yvette C. Burton made an apperance.
“COVID-19, and the recent events that have placed a national and global spotlight on the need for fair and equal treatment for all people, has impacted so many around the world and the LGBTQ community has not been immune. This has resulted in vital and life-saving LGBTQ organizations having to severely amend their budgets and programs. Our hopes are Stonewall Day can assist our beneficiaries in continuing their work and service to the community,” said Dr. Yvette C. Burton, President of the Pride Live Board of Directors.
“From Marsha P. Johnson’s revolution at Stonewall, to the recent murders of Dominique Fells and Riah Milton, the protection of trans people of color continues to be the litmus test of freedom and equal opportunities. Policies such as the Trump administration’s reversed protections for transgender people in the U.S. health care system, adds the disproportionate effect of fatal violence, impacted by the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia across communities and families,” added Dr. Burton.
Learn more about the organizations receiving funds:
Ally Coalition: The Ally Coalition provides critical support for grassroots non-profit organizations dedicated to bettering the lives of LGBTQ Youth.
Brave Space Alliance: Brave Space Alliance is the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ Center located on the South Side of Chicago, dedicated to creating and providing affirming, culturally competent, for-us by-us resources, programming, and services for LGBTQ individuals on the South and West sides of the city.
TransLatin@ Coalition: Since its inception the TransLatin@ Coalition has done advocacy work across the U.S. to ensure the voices of Trans Latins are heard. The TransLatin@ Coalition’s sole purpose is to address the unique and specific challenges and needs of Trans Latinas who live in the United States.
Trans Lifeline: Trans Lifeline connects trans people to the community, support, and resources they need to survive and thrive. Due to #COVID19, its peer-support hotline and microgrants are particularly needed as trans people disproportionately face isolation and economic insecurity.
Did you miss the live stream? Don't sweat it.
If you're in the Los Angeles area, Stoli Vodka and The Abbey will host a Stonewall Day Virtual Happy Hour from 5 to 6 p.m. Pacific. For event details, click HERE.