On June 28, 1969, four plainclothes policemen raided Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. Most of the people inside were members of the LGBTQ community and, while no strangers to police raids, on this night, they had had enough and they fought back. The “gay rights” movement was born that night in the “Stonewall Inn Riots.”
June has become LGBTQ pride month in commemoration of those riots, and there are numerous events being held to recognize the impact members of the LGBTQ community have had on the world.
Throughout the month of June the team at Salt Lake City-based app company Made is helping the LGBTQ+ community — and its allies — celebrate Pride month with an exclusive set of Instagram story templates. The effort is championed by the company’s director of marketing, Natasha Ponomaroff, an LGBTQ+ influencer.
“Pride season is a huge, worldwide cultural moment, celebrating the progress we’ve made, but also recognizing the distance we still have to go to achieve full equality,” says Ponomaroff. “These templates were designed to help push the movement forward through Instagram Stories, to help members and allies show their support on a platform we’re all very familiar with.”
Made is donating $1 for every person who uses their exclusive Pride collection of Instagram story templates during the month of June to The Trevor Project. The Trevor Project was founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award winning short 16-minute film, “Trevor,” that showcases a young teenage boy trying to come to grips with his sexuality. Realizing there was a lack of resources for LGBTQ youth, The Trevor Project became the “leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.” They run a 24/7 hotline available at 1-866-488-7386.
Made is also collaborating with the LoveLoud Festival to spread the word about this fun, social fundraiser. The LoveLoud Foundation was started just two years ago by Dan Reynolds, frontman for Imagine Dragons. Reynolds founded the Loveloud Foundation in 2017 “as a catalyst to bring communities and families together to help ignite the vital conversation about what it means to unconditionally love our LGBTQ+ youth.” The Loveloud Foundation is a 501(c)(3) and offers hope to young people, letting them know they’re not alone and encouraging acceptance in the home and community.
Reynolds, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also created a documentary centered around Loveloud called “Believer.” The film received runner up for the “Festival Favorite Award” at Sundance Film Festival 2018 and premiered on HBO last June.
Last year, the LoveLoud Festival raised more than a million dollars to benefit organizations that work with LGBTQ+ youth, including the Trevor Project, GLAAD, the Tegan and Sara Foundation, Encircle, Mama Dragons, PFLAG, Mormons Building Bridges, the Utah Pride Center and the Utah anti-bullying coalition.
Things have changed since the Stonewall Inn riots. Homosexuality as a “mental disorder” to be cured was taken out of the DSM in 1973. The World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its ICD classification in 1992. According to an article in Psychology Today, the standard of today’s psychotherapy in the U.S. and Europe is “gay affirmative.” Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie has commented on the outpouring of support he has received since “coming out” as a gay Republican and organizations like LoveLoud and The Trevor Project are making inroads in changing public perception.
But, some things have not changed. The repulsive practice of “conversion therapy” is still practiced today, in spite of being strongly denounced by national organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association of Social Workers. A bill to ban conversion therapy during the last legislative session was hijacked and the bill died. In Friday’s news, two women were targeted in a homophobic attack in London, leaving them both bruised and bloody.
We can do better. More of us would do well to take “Papa Ostler’s” advice to “Listen, Learn and Love” our LGBTQ+ friends and family.
Holly Richardson is a regular contributor to The Salt Lake Tribune.