Dear NEOMED Community,
Northeast Ohio Medical University stands in solidarity with its students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members to advocate for inclusivity and equality for all during LGBTQ Pride Month, observed throughout the month of June. Equity and inclusion are the cornerstones of NEOMED’s values and we recognize that much work remains to be done.
Tracing the history
In 1955, the first group to campaign for Gay Rights in the U.S., The Society for Human Rights in Chicago, was founded by Henry Gerber. Also in 1955, the Daughters of Bilitis in San Francisco was founded and emerged as the first Lesbian Rights group in the US.
The first Pride March took place in New York City on June 28, 1970, on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. It is estimated that three to five thousand marchers participated in the inaugural event. Today, the New York City Pride March sees numbers in the millions.
The Rainbow Flag, which is a symbol of the LGBTQ community, was designed by Gilbert Baker in the 1970s. The flag has been redesigned to include specific lines for those who are part of the Transgender Community, identify as intersex, gender neutral, and those who are Transitioning.
Not all Pride celebrations are scheduled in June. National Coming Out Day is on October 11 and places like Atlanta, Orlando, and Kentucky host numerous events in October. Atlanta Black Pride is held during Labor Day weekend.
In June 1999, President Bill Clinton was the first sitting U.S. president to officially recognize June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. We also do want to acknowledge that he established the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military policy that barred openly gay, lesbian, and trans persons from serving in the military. The policy was repealed December 22, 2010, by President Obama.
In an effort to be more inclusive, President Barack Obama changed the official name of the June observance to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month in 2009.
To learn more about the history, please visit the following links:
- Library of Congress: About Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month
- The Harvard Gazette: Stonewall then and now
Many people in our LGBTQ+ communities continue to face discrimination, harassment and violence based on sexual orientation.
At NEOMED, we honor the Stonewall Activists and the members of our community, past and present, who have and continue to speak up against hateful and harmful words and actions towards members of the LGBTQ community. We urge our community to take time this month to learn and get involved in local or national efforts that work to create a community of respect and safety for our colleagues and students. Below are organizations where you can learn more and/or donate your time or resources.
- The Trevor Project – Suicide and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth.
- GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) - Social Media monitoring organization that protests defamatory coverage of LGBTQ folks.
- GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network) - National organization focused on ensuring schools free of bullying harassment for all.
Andre Burton, J.D.
Vice President for Human Resources and Diversity
Office of the President