June is Pride Month when the LGBTQ+ community is celebrated worldwide.

Historically LGBTQ+ people were criminalized, lost custody of their children, and could be fired or denied housing simply for who they were. Because there were so few safe public places, gay bars were (and still are) a mainstay in the queer community. Police raids on gay bars were commonplace. On June 28, 1969, the New York City Police Department raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar popular with a diverse clientele, including drag queens and gay youth. The patrons fought back, touching off six days of riots. In 1970 the first pride parade was held on the anniversary of the Stonewall Riot. 

Locally, Pride is celebrated during the first week in June, and various businesses and organizations will be hosting Pride events. I will focus here on two non-profits; Siouxland Pride Alliance will host a teen Pride Prom on May 26, a Pride Parade on June 1, and the Sioux City Pride Festival on June 3, and Winnebago Two-Spirit will hold their Pride Carnival on June 2. 

LGBTQIA2S+ Why the alphabet salad?

Our community encompasses a variety of sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. LGBTQ+ is shorthand for LGBTQIA2S+ and recognizes that, as queer people, we are finding new ways to define ourselves.

Sexual orientation refers to your primary emotional, romantic, and sexual attraction. Lesbian is the term for same-sex attracted women, and gay is the term for same-sex attracted men. Bisexual people are attracted to both sexes. (Pansexual is sometimes used to avoid viewing gender as a binary.)

Transgender—someone whose gender identity does not correspond with their sex assigned at birth.

Queer—traditionally a derogatory term, it has been reclaimed by some in the LGBTQ+ community as a term of pride and positivity; it is an umbrella term to describe the LGBTQ+ community. Sometimes the “Q” stands for questioning—people who are in the process of exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Intersex—a person’s sex traits and reproductive anatomy combine in ways that fall outside the medical classifications of male or female. This can include differences in genitalia, chromosomes, gonads, internal sex organs, hormone production, hormone response, and secondary sex traits.

Asexual—someone who has little or no sexual attraction or interest in sexual activity.

Two-Spirit—an LGBTQ+ Indigenous person. (While each Indigenous Nation is unique, some traditionally believed there are more than two genders.)

More Important Definitions

Gender identity—your innermost concept of yourself as male, female, a blend of both, or neither. Your gender identity can be the same or different from your sex.

Gender expression—your external appearance may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics associated with being masculine or feminine.

Non-binary—someone whose gender identity is not exclusively male or female. They may identify with elements of both, with another gender or no gender at all.

For more definitions, go to Glossary of Terms – Human Rights Campaign (hrc.org)

By Karen (Chanté Wambdi Wiŋ) Mackey, the Executive Director of the Sioux City Human Rights Commission. She is an enrolled member of the Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska and received her J.D. from the University of Nebraska, College of Law.  She is a sixth-degree black belt in judo and a former national-level competitor.

In 1995, Karen was one of the first women, and only martial artist, to be inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame. She was named a Woman of Excellence by Women Aware in 2008. In 2019, she was named an LGBTQ Legacy Leader by DSM Magazine and One Iowa.

Karen is a founding member of Siouxland Pride Alliance, a grassroots organization promoting the equality, safety, and well-being of LGBTQ+ people in Siouxland. She is co-chair of the Community Initiative for Native Children and Families (CINCF) and chair of the Disabilities Resource Center of Siouxland, the Urban Native Center in Sioux City, and the Siouxland Human Investment Partnership (SHIP).

Karen is active in PFLAG of Siouxland and the Sioux City Chapter of the NAACP. She also serves on the USA Judo Ethics and Grievance Committee and the United States Judo Federation’s Standards Committee.

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