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The LGBTQ Caucus of the Indianapolis City-County Council plans to introduce a resolution recognizing queer and transgender people of color as part of this year’s Pride Month resolution.
The caucus, formed earlier this year, is launching a week-long effort to recognize Pride Month during the time period when Indy Pride was originally scheduled to take place. That celebration was canceled amid concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Williams Institute, a think tank at the UCLA School of Law, about 29% of LGBTQ Hoosiers identify as people of color. Recognizing queer and trans people of color is particularly significant at a time when protests against systemic racism and police brutality are taking place in cities around the nation.
The resolution says the LGBTQ Caucus “wants to emphasize historic relevance of black, brown, and transgender activists who actually organized the six-day [Stonewall] riots in New York City and become the founding voices of the global LGBTQ Community: Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera; Their voices helped usher in the ideas that LGBTQ acceptance were possible in the United States, including in Indiana.”
“LGBTQ Hoosiers, especially queer and trans people of color, have long deserved to be recognized for their relentless resilience and heart in fighting for opportunity and acceptance in our state, and it’s an honor to recognize how much work it took just to get us to this point,” City Councillor Ali Brown said in a statement. “As the only woman and mother of the Caucus, I can also emphasize the significance this has on LGBTQ families across Indiana, because now we are validated and considered equals in the place we all love to call home.”
The resolution also calls on Hoosiers who can safely display a Pride flag to do so, and encourages LGBTQ Hoosiers to register to vote ahead of November’s elections. Another Williams Institute study estimates that 21% of all voters, or an estimated 48,000 Hoosiers — including 14,000 who are people of color — are not registered to vote.
“Pride has its origins in protest and activism,” Council Vice President Zach Adamson said in a statement. “Being proud and unashamed of who we are is an incomplete action if it’s not also paired with the ultimate show of activism and resistance: voting.”
The four members of the LGBTQ Caucus noted in a press release that Hoosiers have much to learn from battles over LGBTQ rights that have wracked Indiana over the course of the past decade, including fights over implementing a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, the state’s controversial “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” and the failure of the Republican-run legislature to pass an LGBTQ-inclusive hate crimes law.
“We should not forget the origins of Pride in Stonewall and how that should relate to today’s protests and movements for equality and justice,” Councillor Ethan Evans said in a statement. “Change should also come at the ballot box when we vote out politicians who do not listen to those demanding action.”
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