Celebrating Pride Month Amidst Backlash
June is Pride Month on the continent. Hawaiʻi celebrates Pride in October, but HHHRC celebrates the progress made over decades for equality and continues to bear witness to the increasingly grim news from the continent.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, over 520 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures, with over 220 targeting transgender and non-binary people. Seventy anti-LGBTQ laws have been enacted, with fifteen banning gender-affirming care for trans youth. Many bills are copies of model legislation forwarded by right-wing groups.
Books with trans and LGBQ themes have been challenged and removed from public libraries, comprising seven of the 13 “Most Challenged Books” in 2022 listed by the American Library Association. The top two most challenged books were Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer: A Memoir (151) and George M. Johnson’s All Boys Aren’t Blue (86).
The Los Angeles Dodgers invited, disinvited, and re-invited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to its Pride Night. The Sisters were at the forefront of HIV/AIDS activism in San Francisco during the 1980s. Four-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Clayton Kershaw continues to speak against the organization’s decision to honor the Sisters.
Target has come under assault for selling Pride-related items in its stores, with some items created by trans and LGBQ designers. The retailer has pulled some merchandise from its shelves while continuing to invoke inclusiveness.
Budweiser has been the focus of a boycott for featuring trans TikTok influencer Dylan Mulvaney in its online promotions, resulting in reduced sales of Bud Light, and the suspension of two marketing executives with Anheuser-Busch. In the 1970’s, the Teamsters Union and gay activists, including Harvey Milk and Bay Area Gay Liberation, successfully boycotted Coors for its unfair labor practices and support for anti-gay organizations.
Hawaiʻi is not immune from anti-LGBTQ animus, often driven by sectarian beliefs. On April 30, protesters appeared at a Keiki Community Fair hosted by Family Promise of Hawaiʻi at ʻAʻala Park in downtown Honolulu. They were there to protest Drag Queen Story Hour, which went on as planned without incident. Earlier in the week, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi offered less than supportive comments regarding Drag Queen Story Hour on The Rick Hamada Program. Mahalo to Family Promise and Executive Director Ryan Catalani for hosting the event and standing forthrightly for equality.
HHHRC stands with trans and LGBQ people across the nation. We will continue to promote visibility and equality for Hawaiʻi’s sexual and gender minorities in hopes that our community can live truthfully and authentically.