The office of California State Assemblymember Evan Low announced Monday his bill to establish June as the state’s official Pride Month passed by bipartisan vote of 59-0.
Assembly Bill 2969 (AB 2969) was co-authored by members of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, of which Low serves as chair, and is supported by Equality California as well as the Los Angeles LGBT Center. It will now go to the Senate and then to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown.
“California has the largest LGBT population of any state in the union, and the state is home to over forty LGBT Pride celebrations each year,” said Low in a press release. “We have codified many other cultural celebrations into statute; it’s time to add Pride to that list.”
Both officially and unofficially, Pride Month is celebrated in June from New York City to Los Angeles. But several California cities–including Davis, Long Beach, Palm Springs, San Diego, and San Jose–currently designate other months for Pride.
The press release from Low’s office explained June was chosen because the month holds historical significance for the LGBTQ community. The Stonewall Riots happened in June, along with the first Pride parade to commemorate their anniversary the following year in 1970.
California was home to some of the first actions that helped to inaugurate the modern LGBTQ rights movement. One of the first organizations dedicated to LGBTQ rights, the Mattachine Society was founded in Los Angeles by activist Harry Hay in the year 1950. Years before the Stonewall riots, police harassment of patrons at LGBTQ establishments led to riots at a Los Angeles bar called Black Cat Tavern, and at Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco.
Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur told the Los Angeles Blade: “We ought to recognize the LGBTQ community’s role in California—and California’s role in the LGBTQ civil rights movement—by passing Assemblymember Low’s bill and officially placing Pride Month into our state calendar.”
Pride Month celebrations present an opportunity to connect local LGBTQ communities with the cities in which they reside. Today, as in the past, Pride allows LGBTQ people to feel less alone by connecting with each other in open displays of solidarity, inclusiveness, and love.
Samuel Garrett-Pate, communications director at Equality California, told the Blade this year’s Pride will continue themes that were central to last year’s events–namely, mobilization in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. “Last year’s Pride Month celebrations were largely focused on resisting the attacks coming out of the Trump-Pence Administration against our rights and our community”, he said. Attendees this year can expect “a more forward-looking, aspirational tone”, and Garrett-Pate explained Pride celebrations in 2018 will reflect the civic engagement exemplified by mass demonstrations like the March for our Lives. “We’re seeing folks across California—especially LGBTQ young people—mobilize to take back our government and build a future that reflects our community’s values.”
California’s Legislative LGBT Caucus has historically introduced resolutions each June to designate the month for Pride. AB 2969 would codify it in statute going forward.