Pride Month Reflections

June 2023

Pride Month is dedicated to the celebration and commemoration of all of our LGBTQ+ community. Pride Month began after the Stonewall riots, a series of gay liberation protests. The riots began in response to a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan in New York City.

A year after the uprising, to mark the anniversary on June 28, 1970, the first gay pride marches took place in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. Within a few years, gay rights organizations were founded across the US and the world. Today, LGBTQ+ Pride events are held annually worldwide in June in honor of the Stonewall riots.

In celebration of Pride Month, Williams & Connolly asked Office Manager Kris Hawkins and Associate Jacob Burnett to reflect on their LGBTQ+ identity and the importance of this month being more widely observed.

“Pride Month is important to me as a LGBTQ+ Black man because it provides a platform for me to celebrate and honor my intersectional identity. As a member of both the Black and LGBTQ+ communities, I have faced many challenges, including discrimination. Pride Month allows me to come together with others who have also faced those challenges but we can also celebrate the diversity and strength of the LGBTQ+ community. It also serves as an opportunity to raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by Black LGBTQ+ individuals and to advocate for greater equality and acceptance for all members of the community.

- Kris Hawkins, Office Manager

 “Growing up, I hated that I was gay. I always thought that I would just smile through the existential pain and live the white-picket-fence life with a woman that society pressured me into wanting. That feeling did not change overnight. But it did change. Throughout time, I slowly began using the words “I’m gay,” surrounded myself with incredible people who supported me, learned more about queer history, and ended up loving myself along the way. Pride month is important to me because I never thought I wanted it. I never imagined celebrating who I was. Pride month does not make up for the years of taunting, bullying, and assault that I, and countless others, experienced and continue to face. But it introduced me to a community of people who love relentlessly and that made me love my queerness. And as a privileged, white, gay man, I cannot help but note that this community has been built on the literal blood, sweat, and tears of queer people of color who fought for all of our right to exist. In the end, that’s what I believe Pride month celebrates: the right to exist, thrive, love, and have fun with those who have the audacity to be who they are. And what’s more exciting than that?”

Jacob Burnett, Associate

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