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Fourth of July 2013 Post: The Good

July 4, 2013

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I took this picture on Sunday and it took me a while to realize how fucking amazing it is in context. No, I don’t mean “gee look how great my photography is,” although I do think it’s an objectively awesome photo. I mean, thinking about the historical ramifications of Pride and looking at this photo kind of blew my mind.

The overt, active Gay Pride movement is generally seen as having been turned up to 11 as a result of the Stonewall Riots. To put it in the simplest possible terms, Stonewall was a bar fight with cops. It was a bar fight the cops epically lost. It was a bar fight the cops could have avoided entirely if they hadn’t been raiding the Stonewall Inn. Why were they raiding it? Because in 1969 being gay was a crime. So honestly, the cops were totally doing their jobs in the most technical sense of that term.

Having said that, they were regularly pretty shitty to the LGBTQ community, because acceptable targets and all that. And, you know, it was just a few years earlier that the police of major cities in America started feeling like possibly they should stop targeting people of color because they might get in a little bit of trouble because of it. Not a lot of trouble, at the time, just a little and that was more than they were willing to deal with. Instead they ramped up their  harassment of the LGBTQ community.

It was hot and the community was, according to reports, just fucking tired of getting attacked. So they fought back. They fought back hard and they won! That was the spark that shifted the movement into higher gear and 44 years later we were celebrating both that day and the SCOTUS victories.

How is the picture in any way relevant?

The woman shown is Janeé Harteau, the current Chief of the Minneapolis Police Department. She’s gay. She was at the head of the Pride parade.

Look, I know that the fight for equality isn’t over. Hell, I’m the one who pointed out that there’s still a ton of work to do. But that right there? That is amazing and I’m so proud of or country.

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