By MACGUIRE BENTON • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
This June marks 52 years since the Stonewall uprising began. We commemorate the contributions and sacrifices LGBTQ+ community members, activists and pioneers have made in the fight for civil rights.
In the early hours of June 28, 1969, a series of demonstrations began in New York City as a result of a violent police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a historic gay club located in Greenwich Village.
LGBTQ+ bars and nightclubs were subjected to constant raids by law enforcement agencies in the city at that time. The Stonewall uprising is recognized as the catalyst of the LGBTQ+ rights movement.
I’m proud to be an LGBTQ+ community member and elected official. Unwavering support for civil rights and equal justice under the law for all LGBTQ+ people is a pillar of my public service. In July 2019, the village of Cooperstown passed a resolution to commemorate pride month by flying the pride flag at our Village Hall. A symbol of our solidarity and recognition on behalf of our village government. I’m proud that Cooperstown has taken this stand to be a beacon for inclusivity and equal justice for all. It’s incumbent upon governments at every level to contribute to advancing fair and equal justice for people of every sexual orientation and gender identity.
We’re facing a variety of crises that threaten to turn back the clock on civil rights for LGBTQ+ people. A 6-3 conservative majority sits on the Supreme Court. Extreme and radicalized federal judges. A disproportionately high murder rate exists among trans women of color. State by state we’re seeing the successful or attempted passage of discriminatory “bathroom” bills. The possibility of losing the right to marry is still real to many people.
The struggle isn’t nearly over. It may never be. All over America we see the continuous chipping away of LGBTQ+ rights.
Now is the time to be vigilant, to engage with your local, state and federal representatives, to make your voice heard.
When we work collectively for what is right we protect what is most important to us — our freedom to live and love as we choose.
I encourage everyone to visit our Village Hall where the pride flag is being flown and take a moment to reflect on how far we’ve come and how delicate that progress is.
Macguire Benton is a Cooperstown Village Trustee.