SEIU Healthcare Minnesota Pride
The month of June 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Pride Month as we celebrate inclusion and equality. As an organization, we affirm our commitment to LGBTQ+ rights, celebrate the progress that has been achieved, and recognize that attitudes and injustice still remain. Pride Month is important because it marks the start of huge change within the LGBTQ+ community, as well as the wider societal implications.
Please join me and read from our staff about Pride Month and the historical events that highlight progress within the LGBTQ+ movement, with recommendations on books/movies/podcasts.
- Tenzin Gakyi
As of June 15, 2020, a person’s sexual orientation is no longer a just cause of termination in all 50 states and other jurisdictions in the United States of America.
The passing of this historic supreme court judgment is a reflection point for me on the progress we have made as a country. I’m thankful for the activism of those who’ve come before me, who’ve sacrificed their lives and those who chose to come out and be visible knowing full well the consequences. You made sure we were seen. When we were seen, we were counted. Once we were counted, we became agents of change. Let’s continue to extend the support and allyship to others who remain marginalized.
Paris Is Burning
- Krystal Klein
Hi co-workers. I’m bi. I’m married to a woman and open to sharing my story with any who are curious. Now and always, I’m grateful for all the brave people who came out, organized and risked so much— leading the LGBTQ movement that began before I was born and continues today. Their work has allowed me to be more freely me. We have a long way to go until all people can truly accepted as their authentic selves, free from discrimination and hate.
Here are a few reflections in honor of PRIDE month:
- The other day, my kid was biking circles in the driveway and randomly asked if she was going to be a man or woman or neither when she grows up. Immediately, her 9- year-old neighbor-friend (also biking) said, “you get to decide!” before Megan and I echoed the same answer. I can’t imagine such a simple conversion happening 30 years ago when I was 8. I also can’t imagine that conversation happening right now, in probably more than half the households in Minnesota. I also know that even in households like ours where this conversation can happen, we are not doing enough. Are you thinking about how you are presenting gender to your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, other kids? Here’s one resource: https://www.familyequality.org/2019/10/02/talking-trans-with-your-kids
- What if we assumed all people were bisexual (or pansexual)? What if we didn’t assume that because someone is in a relationship with someone of the opposite gender, that they must be straight? What if we didn’t assume our kids were going to be straight or gay, but maybe somewhere in between and they get to figure it out? It would have helped me so much if that had been my starting place.
- Conversion Therapy/Torture— did you know it’s still happening in Minnesota? Outfront MN is working to pass local ordinances and state legislation to stop it. You can support here: Conversion Therapy:https://www.outfront.org/public-policy#conversion-therapy and read about it here http://mspmag.com/arts-and-culture/the-fight-to-ban-conversion-therapy-in-minnesota/
- What if those of us on staff who are White, came out as anti-racist? Not just in these few weeks while George Floyd’s murder being so fresh— but what if we came out everyday from now on—just like those of us who are LGBTQ do. Come out to all the new people we meet- SEIU members, new neighbors, new friends, acquaintances. Come out, not just to the people we feel safe with, but also to our White Supremacist aunties and cousins too. There’s always that moment when you decide to share, and you wonder- how will they react? Or you share without meaning to and see that flash of surprise, or is it judgement?, on the face of the person you are talking to before they quickly recover and the conversation moves on to what you were actually talking about. Or you share knowing that your relationship will probably never be the same. Or you share and unknowingly change someone’s perspective. Pride is power—being authentically and unapologetically proud of your identity is about taking your power. It can come with some big consequences (and that’s a good thing).
“Brother Outsider” a documentary about the work and life of Bayard Rustin, who organized the March on Washington.
- Julie Boots
Historically, when we finally were able to marry. My spouse and I were married June 21, 2014. This was just after I was hired by SEIU Healthcare MN. I never in a million years thought I would ever get married. Plus, we were able to be married before Vicki’s mother passed away. We have been married for six years but together for 25 years.
- Elise Frieder
This pride month has been one of deep reflection. As a white, cisgendered woman, my ability to be openly bisexual is only as a result of great sacrifice from those who came before me, especially the Black and Brown trans women who fought against police violence at the Stonewall Inn in June of 1969 (Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera). Every day that I live my life openly with my partner, and as myself, is owed to their courage and bravery.
June 2020, just 51 years after the Stonewall Uprising, I am so proud of how far we have come. Still, I can’t help but be reminded of how much further we have to go. Just days before George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis Police Department, Tony McDade, a Black transgender man, was murdered by Tallahassee police. Tony is one of many Black trans people who have lost their lives to state and vigilante violence.
This Pride, I am proud to see so many amazing LGBTQIA+ activists who are loudly calling for the world we need to create. A world that would have kept Tony McDade safe. This is a world free from police, a world free from prisons, and a world free from violence because of the identities a person holds. This Pride, more than any Pride in my memory, another world feels possible.
Book Recommendation: Against Equality
TV Show Recommendation: “Pose” on FX (and Netflix!)
Organizations to Support: Reclaim!; Outfront; The Aliveness Project
Tenzin, Krystal, Julie and Elise