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Inked with Pride

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The 1960s were notable for countless political movements — Civil Rights, the sexual liberation age, and Anti-Vietnam War protests. But these protests against racism, sexism, and violence were naturally met with blowback and even violent attempts to eradicate the causes.

June 28th will mark the fifty year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots,  one of many responses from disenfranchised communities who felt silenced and victimized, and thus reacted with anger when police raided the popular bar. The Stonewall Inn, located in the liberal hub of New York City’s Greenwich Village, was especially notable in the LGBT community because it was often frequented by members of the community who found themselves most deeply disenfranchised — gender non-conforming drag queens, prostitutes, and homeless LGBT youth. This bar was their safe haven, so when police raided Stonewall — arresting, harassing, and violating those in attendance — the patrons became rowdy and argumentative.

Eventually, the encounter culminated in the riots that took place over the span of multiple days. In the aftermath of the riots, the gay rights movement began to gain major support as many new organizations championing the cause were established and existing groups gained greater support. In the years since the riots took place, great strides have been made towards greater freedom and inclusion for the LGBT community.

However, much work still needs to be done. Just last week, President Trump proposed the elimination of regulations meant to end discrimination against transgender people seeking medical care and health insurance coverage. According to The New York Times, “The Department of Health and Human Services’s proposed regulation would replace a 2016 rule from the Obama administration that defined discrimination ‘on the basis of sex’ to include gender identity.” Although President Obama sought to end discrimination against transgender medical patients, President Trump seeks to undo that progress, which would effectively allow doctors and insurance providers to turn away individuals seeking treatment for gender reassignment. In fact, this action is just one of many steps President Trump has taken to legally shun transgender and gender non-conforming Americans.

In spite of historic discrimination, Pride month is a public, colorful, and loud celebration of the enduring struggle for freedom in the LGBT community. Countless people will flock to Pride parades all over the country donning rainbow apparel and waving pride flags. Although they once had to confine their expression of pride to the few spaces they considered safe, drag queens and leather-clad men will now dance their way down city streets. These celebrations will also be marked by the presence of important LGBT rights organizations that continue the work.

Whether people tattoo symbols of LGBT pride on their skin or simply wear a pin proclaiming their preferred pronouns, there are many ways of expressing pride beyond the month of June.

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Colorful and artistic, this image shows two women embracing and kissing.


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In just a few words, this tattoo proclaims that this person wishes not to be identified according to their gender. Instead, they wish only to be recognized as a human.


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The rainbow flag is the most recognizable image of LGBT pride. Many Pride parade attendees will wrap themselves in the colorful flag.


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This familiar floral design is made unique with the rainbow female symbol taking the design from simple to extraordinary.


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Another artistic piece, this design revels in the beauty of women who love women.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the official position of PainfulPleasures.