To commemorate LGBTQ+ Pride Month, Maine Democratic Party Executive Director Lisa Roberts released the following statement:
“As we join together in the streets to usher in Pride month each June, sometimes we forget the pain and tumult that make raising our rainbow flags in celebration possible. But this year, the connection of pride to protest is unmistakable. Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade and so many other Black Americans are being killed at the hands of the police, all while Black communities nationwide are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. Maine is no exception, and Maine people have been taking to the streets, raising their fists and their flags—a stark reminder that marginalized Americans have had to fight for the equality others take for granted.
“Here in Maine, Pride is usually marked with festive parades celebrating LGBTQ+ identity and the ongoing struggles to secure the rights LGBTQ+ people deserve. Maine has a long history of activism and organizing for LGBTQ+ rights, from being one of the first states to include sexual orientation and gender idenity in a statewide non-discrimination law to becoming the first state to win marriage equality without legislative or court approval and the first state to bring marriage equality directly to its voters.
“But this month, instead of parades, we’re mourning with those we’ve lost to the related pandemics of coronavirus and structural racism. We’re listening to and joining with Black and Brown communities fighting ongoing racism in our criminal justice system, disparities in our health care system, and inequality in our economic system. This month, we’re recognizing that creating a more just world for everyone requires courage, organizing, and protest.
“Some of the first to protest at Stonewall were trans women of color, including Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Today, trans people -- especially trans people of color -- are under attack and facing an epidemic of violence at the hands of our institutions. Just last week, the Trump administration wiped out health care discrimination protections for trans people, a continuation of Trump’s attacks on LGBTQ+ people in our health care, our civil rights, and our equal protections under law.
“There is cause for celebration this month. The Supreme Court’s ruling this week to protect LGBTQ+ workers from being fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, despite Trump's best efforts to legalize discrimination in the workplace, is a reminder that progress is being made — though its battles are hard-fought and its victories hard-won.
“Pride is protest, and this month, we protest, we organize, and we fight, because there’s still work left to be done.”