Kamala Harris addresses anti-LGBTQ+ attacks in the US: ‘People are afraid to be themselves’

Vice president Kamala Harris addresses reporters outside the Stonewall Inn in New York City

Vice-president Kamala Harris has urged Americans to be vigilant and stand together in the face of anti-LGBTQ+ attacks.

During a surprise visit to the historic Stonewall Inn, in New York – seen by many as the birthplace of gay rights and the modern Pride movement – Harris condemned recent swathes of anti-queer legislation.

According to The New York Times, she said the 1969 Stonewall riots, which gave way to a sweeping LGBTQ+ civil rights movement, represented “a moment about equality and a movement that is about freedom”.

Speaking on Monday (26 June), the vice-president added: “There are over 600 bills being proposed, anti-LGBTQ+ bills… people are afraid to be themselves, these are fundamental issues that point to the need for us all to be vigilant, to stand together.”

Harris’ visit came just one day after New York’s governor, Kathy Hochul, signed legislation to protect the LGBTQ+ community, a move that Pose actor Billy Porter explained would make the state a “safe haven” for those being persecuted by anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in their home states.

Prior to Harris’ visit, it was reported that a monument dedicated to the uprising has been vandalised three times during this year’s Pride month

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Pride flags hanging across the Stonewall National Monument in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, a historically LGBTQ+ area, have reportedly been ripped down or damaged. 

A volunteer at the park that houses the monument told local news: “We have so much hatred and anger in the air right now… we need to reverse that and replace it with love, compassion and acceptance.”

Standing outside the famous bar, Harris vowed: “We are not going to be overwhelmed, we’re not going to be silenced, we’re not going to be deterred… we’re going to roll up our sleeves.

“That, to me, is what Stonewall means: strength in numbers.”

Writing on Twitter, she added: “Stonewall reminds us of the progress we have made and the importance of our continued fight for equality.”

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