June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer Pride Month, commonly referred to simply as Pride Month. It commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City, which were a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the US, and recognizes the significant positive contributions that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) individuals have had on society. Pride Month promotes self-affirmation and dignity among the LGBTQ community, in addition to celebrating sexual diversity and gender variance.
Cities around the world now hold Pride events in June, thanks in large part to the “Mother of Pride,” Brenda Howard, who organized the first rally and march to commemorate the one year anniversary of Stonewall. However, issues such as workplace and housing discrimination, adoption and child custody rights, conversion therapy, and hate crimes, among many others, continue to challenge LGBTQ life and arouse social and political controversy. Rights achieved, such as marriage equality, cannot be taken for granted until full social and legal equal rights are accessible to all.
Here in California, the Bay Area has been at the heart of LGBTQ rights for decades. Harvey Milk, elected to San Francisco’s board of supervisors in 1977, was the first openly gay elected official in California, opening the door to many others. Our state was the the first in the country to recognize an official caucus of openly-LGBT state legislators; today there are eight members working in Sacramento to further the goals of equality and justice for all Californians.
At UC Berkeley, the Gender Equity Resource Center, referred to as GenEq, is a campus community center where students, faculty, staff and alumni connect for resources, services, education and leadership programs related to gender and sexuality. LavenderCal, an officially recognized staff org and campus network for LGBTQ staff and faculty, supports diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives on campus and seeks to raise the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, and questioning employees. For over ten years, LavenderCal has held a wide variety of educational and social events, including lunch meetups for regulars and newcomers on the first Friday of every month at the Faculty Club; June 1 marked the 140th consecutive such gathering.
On Sunday, June 24, GenEq is partnering with the Cal Alumni Association to lead a contingent of Cal alumni, staff, faculty, students and friends in the 48th annual San Francisco Pride Parade. Everyone from across the LGBTQ spectrum and allies are welcome to join - you can register online. The first 500 marchers will receive free commemorative Cal Pride t-shirts. This year UC Berkeley is well represented among the Parade Grand Marshals, including Billy Curtis (GenEq), the SF L/G Freedom Band (Artistic Director Mike Wong UCB Student Learning Center), and the FAIR Education Act, led by UCB alumnus Don Romesberg, PhD History.
We encourage UC Berkeley community members to take advantage of the many resources here on campus and events in the Bay Area during this Pride Month. Celebrate our diversity, acknowledge the struggles, and come together to protect and extend LGBTQ rights. At Berkeley, we are continually working to foster an environment of inclusiveness as diversity is one of our fundamental campus values.
Oscar and Jo
Oscar Dubón, Vice Chancellor, Equity & Inclusion
Jo Mackness, Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor, Human Resources