The Importance of Inclusivity
We all hear this word throw around today. Inclusivity, but what does it really mean. It is defined as “an intention or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who are handicapped or learning-disabled, or racial and sexual minorities.” This mean that no one should be excluded based on color, creed, ethnic heritage, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability, or otherwise. We as people come in all types and each of us deserve, as a right, to live life the way that anyone else should. Within the realms of not hurting others.
Why am I writing about this, you ask? Well, Pride month ended a week ago and it is important to realize that Pride seems to target a select group of people. Fighting for our rights and ability to be who we are, are the “certain inalienable rights,” defined by our Constitution.
We shouldn’t forget that the rights we have come to us from a group of people standing up and deciding they were not going to be marginalized anymore. They had their rights and were going to make sure others knew they had them. They stood up against “authority” and fought back.
June 28th, 1969 was the start of the modern LGBTQ rights struggle began at a bar called Stonewall Inn and lasted for three days. All patrons of that bar were in direct violation of the law for simply being homosexual. Stormé DeLarverie, African-American Butch Lesbian, was the first one to stand up and fight back. She was quoted as saying “It was a rebellion, it was an uprising, it was a civil rights disobedience–it wasn’t no damn riot.” She was reported as being handcuffed and roughly escorted outside. She had been hit in the head with a police baton and started bleeding as she fought back. Looking at the crowd she was shocked to see people watching and not intervening. Her response to them was, “Why don’t you guys do something?”
It was on this night when Drag Queens, who only recently had been allowed to come to Stonewall, took the charge and started fighting back. Marsha P. Johnson, an African American Drag Queen and Transwoman, and fellow drag sisters Zazu Nova and Jackie Hormona, were in attendance. They arrived at the bar to see that it had already been set fire by the police. Marsha was reported throwing a shot glass at a mirror while screaming “I got my rights,”
The rights we have at this very moment, the ones each of us should be standing up and being counted for, were earned by people that you don’t see shown as equal in our own pride events. African American, Transgender people, Lesbians, and drag queens were the spear heads of our fights. We live in a world that is ran by straight, white, privileged, men of a certain age. These same men make the rules for everyone else and are fighting hard to take away what we have gained in the almost 50 years since Stonewall. We need to come together as a strong unified front, as in the past, to ensure we don’t lose the ground that has been fought for. Don’t forget Storme DeLarverie, Marsha P. Johnson, Harvey Milk, Cleve Jones, Bayard Rustin, and James Baldwin. This is not the time for complacency, this is the time to stand up and be a part of the fight as so many others have been.
“Do not go gentle into that good night…Rage, rage against the dying light.” – Dylan Thomas