KEW GARDENS, Queens (PIX11) – A symbol of LGBTQ pride and community now adorns the entrance of Queens Borough Hall to commemorate Pride Month.
Elected officials and local advocates were on hand for the rainbow flag unveiling Wednesday, reminding residents of the borough’s pledge to defend basic human rights for all of its residents.
“Regardless of gender, regardless of their sexuality, regardless of how they self-identify, we are here to honor everyone,” said Deputy Queens Borough President Ebony Young.
“We are the world’s borough and it’s important that we make a showing to say that all are welcomed,” said David Kilmnick, president of the LGBT Network.
Pride celebrations in June have been going on for more than half a century. The tradition is meant to pay tribute to the Stonewall Uprising of 1969.
This year, Pride Month happens at a critical time in United States history when more than 240 pieces of legislation have been introduced across the country. Critics say all of them target the LGBTQ community.
“It’s really frustrating and devastating to see how far we have come for LGBTQ rights and to know how far we still need to go for equality,” said Elizabeth Schedl, executive director of Hudson Pride Center.
From LGBTQ issues being taught in the classrooms to restricting transgender students from playing sports, bills have been introduced in nearly all 50 states. While proponents say the bills are meant to protect children and uphold parental rights, LGBTQ advocates say it is all taking a toll on the youth.
“Our kids are scared. Our kids are afraid. We have to make sure that that kid in Far Rockaway or that young kid in Astoria or Flushing knows that they are loved and knows that there is nothing that needs to be fixed,” Kilmnick said.