Each June, Pride marches typically take place around the country, but this year, the LGBTQ community is redirecting its focus to the Black Lives Matter protests.
“The first Pride was a riot. It was the manifestation of saying, ‘enough is enough, we’ve been under scrutiny, under oppression for so long.’ That is the same vein, the same energy that is happening here,” said local activist Jordan Espiritu.
Pride month this year has come at a time when the pain is centered in the black community, so most marches around the country have been postponed or merged with the protests.
The black community and LGBTQ community have unique struggles, but they have a shared understanding of inequality.
“It would be wrong of me as a queer individual to not stand in solidarity with other disenfranchised groups,” Espiritu said.
“Pride month was always about rights,” activist Audrey Chavez added. “June is also a wonderful time to stand with black folks as pride community to get out and support our black-owned businesses, get out and march.”
At Chavez’ store, she tries to keep the memory of Jai Bornstein alive. Jai, a transgender woman, died by suicide three years ago. They would’ve turned 23 this month during Pride.
“(They were) also an advocate and someone who was standing for rights, particularly for their own population, but I believe that they would be marching for George Floyd,” Chavez said.
Jai Bornstein and George Floyd are victims of two different systemic problems, but they’re both reminders of the work left to be done.
They’re reminders that there’s pride in fighting prejudice.
“Pride as a trademark is canceled, but the real pride has just begun,” Espiritu said.
In Kern County, resources for the queer community include Bakersfield LGBTQ, PFLAG, and the Center for Sexuality and Gender Diversity.