The modern fight for LGBT civil rights in the United States began in earnest 48 years ago this week, just a few blocks away from Domini’s office in downtown Manhattan, where the Stonewall uprising sparked an enduring flame that burns more brightly today than ever. The brave individuals at Stonewall, who decided they were no longer going to silently endure discrimination and intimidation, inspired generations of LGBT people and allies to come together as a community to defend their dignity and fight for equality. In honor of those events and the movement they catalyzed, June is widely recognized and celebrated as LGBT Pride Month.
In the nearly fifty years since Stonewall—and over the past decade especially—the U.S. has come a very long way in advancing LGBT rights, including expanding federal hate crime protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity, prohibiting discrimination in health care under the Affordable Care Act, repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. Similar progress is being made around the world. Just last month, Taiwan’s top court passed a ruling that clears the way for it to become the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.
Despite these important victories, discrimination persists in many places, and much of the LGBT community still faces extreme violence and persecution. More than 70 countries still criminalize homosexuality, and in a number of those it can still be punishable by death. Every day, there are reports of widespread human rights violations. In the Russian republic of Chechnya, human rights groups are reporting that authorities have set up prisons where gay men are being detained, tortured, and executed in what is being called a “gay purge.” These atrocities remind us how much work we still have to do, but they also serve to strengthen our resolve to continue fighting for equality everywhere.
Last year, just days after the tragic Orlando nightclub shooting that targeted the LGBT community and claimed 49 lives, President Obama designated the site of the Stonewall riots the first national monument honoring the LGBT equality movement:
“I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country, the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us. That we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one.”
Today, for the LGBT community and its allies in America and around the world, the Stonewall National Monument stands as a proud symbol of the progress that has been made, and as an inspiration to continue marching forward and opposing discrimination everywhere it exists. Domini has always strived to promote universal human dignity, and we are proud to count ourselves as an ally.
Read more about how companies and investors are helping to promote and defend LGBT civil rights: Defending Equality: Champions for LGBT Rights