Celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month
June is Pride Month
WPCCU celebrates diversity, equity and inclusion. For the month of June we are paying homage not only to a historic-cultural monument The Black Cat; but also three iconic people who were early activists in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer, or questioning (LGBTQ) movement.
Stonewall is popularly known to have launched the LGBTQ revolution. The Stonewall Inn was raided by police on June 28, 1969 in New York City’s West Village. They physically assaulted customers there. However, before Stonewall, there was the Black Cat!
The Black Cat
The Black Cat is in Los Angeles, California, in fact right up the street from WPCCU’s Sunset Branch Office in the Echo Park Area. This modest Art Deco building was the site of a 1967 police raid. The Black Cat in the 1960s was a gay bar attracting a largely working class clientele. At a New Year’s celebration, eight undercover police officers raided the bar. Patrons were beaten and dragged out into the street.
On February 11, 1967, hundreds gathered outside of the bar to peacefully protest police brutality. This event represents the early evolution of the LGBTQ civil rights movement. The court case related to this incident was the first time in U.S. history that gay men were defended as equal under the U.S. Constitution. The court disagreed. The Black Cat was designated as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 2008.
The modern gay rights movement and the black civil rights movement intersected with Bayard Rustin. A gay advisor to Martin Luther King Jr., he organized the 1963 March on Washington. In 1987, he also brought the AIDS crisis to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) attention. He stated, “Twenty five to thirty years ago the barometer of human rights in the United States were black people. That is no longer true. The barometer for judging the character of people in regards to human rights is now those who consider themselves gay, homosexual or lesbian.” President Obama posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 2013, to him.
First openly gay elected official
In 1977, Harvey Milk won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, becoming the first openly gay elected official in California, and one of the first in the country. He served for only one year and then he was assassinated. Before he died, he helped pass the first gay rights ordinance in the country. It protected people from being fired for their sexual orientation. He also encouraged members of the community to knock down the closet door saying that the single most important political act anyone could take was simply to come out. President Obama retrospectively awarded Milk the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
Tennis star and activist
Billie Jean King – we know her accomplishments on the tennis court, but she’s been a visible LGBTQ activist for decades. She was urged to deny her sexual orientation, but she refused saying, “the one thing my mother always said was, ‘To thine own self be true.’” She became one of the first national sports players to be openly gay. She lost all of her lucrative endorsement deals in the process, and she didn’t care. King served as a board member for the National AIDS Fund and the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Her lifetime achievement honors include being inducted in the Chicago LGBTQ Hall of Fame in 1999, and becoming the first female athlete to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom 10 years later.
Celebrate Pride Month
Join WPCCU in celebrating Pride Month—here's a list of fun events for the month of June:
Until June 30: One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival
Until June 30: Pride Makes a Difference: 30 Days of Service and Volunteering around L.A.
June 4-8: The Outfest OutFronts: a five-day digital festival, connecting fans with all things LGBTQIA+ in television
June 4-30: Santa Monica Pride Rainbow Road Art Walk
June 5: Compton PRIDE Festival
June 5: GMCLA presents: Pride Shining Through
June 10: Thrive with Pride Concert, Presented by TikTok
June 17-19: Trans Pride Los Angeles 2021
June 25: Love, Peace + Soul: Virtual Pride Celebration
June 26: American Trans Resource Hub presents Trans Pride 2021
June 27: Los Angeles LGBT Center's Pride Picnic on the historic Fairbanks Lawn at Hollywood Forever