Lone Star Legal Aid joins the National PRIDE celebration throughout the month of June. The first Pride March was held in June 1970 to commemorate the Stonewall Riots/Uprising of 1969, and the LGBTQIA+ community has been gathering annually since to march for social justice, equal rights, and celebrate social and self acceptance. A year prior, members of the gay community responded to a police raid at Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, in Manhattan, New York, by carrying out a series of spontaneous demonstrations that later came to be known as the Stonewall Riots or Stonewall Uprising. Since most establishments were not accepting towards the community at the time, gay and lesbian bars were often a place of friendship, comfort, and trust. The uprising sparked the gay rights movement, uniting queer people nationwide to the task of fighting against a multitude of obstacles. It formed what is now known as the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual, and allies) community, which aims to promote and provide safety and social progress for those who have faced gender, race, sexuality, class, and generational obstacles that are linked to their identities.
As recently as June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all fifty states. In some work establishments, it is as though 6 years have not passed, and same-sex couples continue to face hurdles in their marriage being treated equal to a heterosexual marriage. What started as a march has become a month-long effort to raise awareness about the LBGTQIA+ community, the issues they face, and the resources that are available.
LSLA recognizes the importance of connecting to our client populations in a respectful, culturally competent manner. With recent expansions in LGBTQIA+ legal rights and protections, it is important that members of the community are offered direct legal assistance and opportunities to learn about their rights through education and outreach. In order for this to effectively occur, it is critically important that our staff have a framework for understanding this community’s needs, as well as the appropriate language to engage in these discussions.
Towards this effort, LSLA is hosting a firm-wide LGBTQIA+ Cultural Sensitivity Training. This training focuses on educating our staff on the glossary of LGBTQIA+ terms, teaching them how to create a welcoming environment, and guiding them through intake and case handling for LBGTQIA+ clients.
LSLA’s Safe Space series, aimed at providing information and resources to survivors of sexual assault, regularly features LGBTQIA+ inclusive community partners and focuses on pressing topics in the LGBTQIA+ community. For Pride Month, we partnered with Catholic Charities of Dallas and Pride Houston to have a serious discussion on human trafficking in the LGBTQIA+ community.
Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves the millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing; improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, like those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at www.lonestarlegal.org
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