From the Editors: June 2023
A marquee month for human rights
Relit for the first time in 40 years on Dec. 3, 2021, the Warner Theatre marquee (a reconstruction of the 1931 original) features 6,910 LED lights and weighs in at over 9 tons. The cost of the marquee and surrounding brick-and-stone facade totaled about $1.36 million dollars.
Sometimes we pay a heavy price to shine — no one knows this better than the LGBTQIA+ community, whose fight for rights remains a marquee topic of our day.
In some regions of the world, it's dangerous to even step into the light. Last month, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni put his signature on a piece of legislation that sanctions capital punishment for "aggravated homosexuality" and 20 years incarceration for "promoting" homosexuality. Africa is notoriously inhospitable toward same-sex relations, where it is forbidden in 32 nations.
Although United Nations leaders admonished the law as an affront to human rights, the persecution of gays and transgenders is hardly foreign. Even here in the United States, wherein same-sex marriages have been federally recognized since the 2015 Supreme Court ruling Obergefell v. Hodges, LGBTQIA+ persons continue to face hostility and rollback of hard-earned rights. Just a week prior to this issue's publication, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill outlawing transgender healthcare for minors — affecting some 29,800 youth aged 13 to 17 in the Union's second-most populous state.
Pride Month is hardly empty theatrics. It's an opportunity for substantive conversations to take center stage, as an estimated 9 million LGBTQIA+ Americans (per UCLA's Williams Institute) continue to face harsh critics, often in the highest seats of power. It's a show of strength, purpose, and belonging. Even if Corporate America is just playing along (until public backlash begets backpedaling, a la Target), to genuine allies, Pride is an act of solidarity.
To exist as we are, to pursue what we want to become — these are fundamental freedoms, no matter who you are. In this issue, we celebrate not only those who identify as LGBTQIA+, but thinkers (the Jefferson Educational Society on its 15th anniversary), dreamers (recent graduates), and doers (artist, entrepreneur, and cover designer Gaby Reyes). We hope that our corner of the world remains an affirming sanctuary for all who dare to think, dream, and live — along the lakeshore (which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is considering for National Marine Sanctuary designation) and far beyond.