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This Juneteenth and Pride Month, let's reflect on the intertwined struggles for freedom and equality

OPED gay Black man marching across NYC brooklyn bridge on Juneteenth LGBTQ pride month flags statue of Adam Clayton Powell Jr Harlem
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A reflection on the vibrant energy of June with Juneteenth and Pride Month, honoring the struggles and resilience of marginalized communities. How can we continue to fight for freedom and equality, standing in solidarity with all who seek to live authentically and without fear?

Oh, June, how much I love thee.

As the month sweeps in with its vibrant energy, we find ourselves immersed in a month of profound significance. The air is electric with celebration, remembrance, and unity. Two powerful observances, Juneteenth and Pride Month, converge this month, creating a colorful tapestry of freedom and resilience that is deeply personal and universally relevant. These holidays are also reminders of the ongoing struggle for freedom and the unyielding spirit of those who have fought for agency over their lives and bodies.

Juneteenth, observed on the 19th, is a pivotal day in U.S. history. It marks the moment in 1865 when enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, were finally informed of their freedom two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. This day symbolizes the end of one of the darkest chapters in American history and the beginning of a new struggle for equality and justice. Meanwhile, Pride Month commemorates the Stonewall riots of June 1969, a significant milestone in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. It’s a time when we pay tribute to the courage of those who rose against injustice and demanded to be respected.

Sadly, in recent years, there has been opposition to both holidays and what they mean to marginalized communities. Though Juneteenth was made a federal holiday in 2021, despite opposition from conservative commentators, there’s been a growing movement to reverse the gains made in telling the painful history of this country. Similarly, we watch every June as abuse toward the LGBTQ+ community manifests from online harassment, pressuring companies not to make space for queer merchants or support advocacy groups, to attacks on our community’s national monument at Stonewall. The ongoing assault can feel at times like anxiety filling our chests and fear filling our hearts.

And, yet, we endure.

As a Black trans woman, I stand at the intersection of both communities, championing our right to live and love without infringement. Juneteenth reminds me of the strength to survive in a world of inhumanity. Pride Month reminds me of the trans elders who persevered in a world that wanted to dim their light.

My existence embodies the intertwined struggles of our marginalized existence and is a testament to our shared brilliance and resilience.

These holidays are about looking back and pushing forward, advocating for a world where freedom and equality are truly universal. As we honor Juneteenth and Pride, let’s remember the importance of intersectionality. Although our individual experiences are unique, we have a shared struggle. The fight for racial justice and LGBTQ+ rights are deeply interconnected. Amidst the cookouts, Juneteenth asks us to confront the brutal legacies of slavery and systemic racism that persist today. Amidst the drag brunches, Pride Month challenges us to address the ongoing discrimination and violence faced by LGBTQ+ individuals, especially trans people of color. We must recognize the fight for liberation is not one dimension but a multifaceted endeavor that requires solidarity across all marginalized communities.

Juneteenth and Pride challenge us to dream bigger, fight harder, and love greater.

As we move through this month and beyond, let’s carry the lessons of Juneteenth and Pride. Let’s honor the past, reflect on the present, and work towards a future where everyone can live freely and authentically. Ultimately, the true spirit of these holidays lies in the freedom to be who we are without fear and with the unwavering belief that we are all worthy of love and respect.

Marie-Adélina de la Ferrière is the Community Editor at equalpride, publisher of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, Plus, and Pride.com. A first-generation Haitian-American trans woman with a robust history of independent work as a communications and social media expert, she has tirelessly championed LGBTQ+ artists and performers, creating a vibrant community engagement approach that infuses each project with a dynamic and innovative perspective. Like and follow her on social: @ageofadelina.

Voices is dedicated to featuring a wide range of inspiring personal stories and impactful opinions from the LGBTQ+ and Allied community. Visit Advocate.com/submit to learn more about submission guidelines. We welcome your thoughts and feedback on any of our stories. Email us at voices@equalpride.com. Views expressed in Voices stories are those of the guest writers, columnists and editors, and do not directly represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.

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Marie-Adélina de la Ferrière

Marie-Adélina de la Ferrière is the Community Editor at equalpride, publisher of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, Plus, and Pride.com. A first-generation Haitian-American trans woman with a robust history of independent work as a communications and social media expert, she has tirelessly championed LGBTQ+ artists and performers, creating a vibrant community engagement approach that infuses each project with a dynamic and innovative perspective. Like and follow her on social: @ageofadelina.
Marie-Adélina de la Ferrière is the Community Editor at equalpride, publisher of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, Plus, and Pride.com. A first-generation Haitian-American trans woman with a robust history of independent work as a communications and social media expert, she has tirelessly championed LGBTQ+ artists and performers, creating a vibrant community engagement approach that infuses each project with a dynamic and innovative perspective. Like and follow her on social: @ageofadelina.