Our Liberation is Bound Together

"No Pride for some of us without liberation for all of us."

Jim Sheppard, QBurgh co-creator. Photo by Chad Isaiah.

As we step into this year’s Pittsburgh Pride season, we do so not only in celebration but in solemn acknowledgment of the turbulent times our community continues to face. This year, more than ever, our unity, our resilience, and our shared commitment to justice are crucial.

In the past several years, the LGBTQ community—particularly our transgender brothers and sisters — has been subjected to a relentless barrage of harmful rhetoric and physical violence, fueled by influential voices in the media and politics and the rise of fascist sentiments. These attacks are not just words; they are acts of stochastic terrorism aimed at undermining our existence and dignity. These attacks have not just been words and legislation but also physical violence and threats. Vilifying and sexualizing the LGBTQ community has real-world consequences. Libs of TikTok tweeted lies and dehumanizing language about our community and the LGBTQ community center in Philadelphia lost funding as a result.

Yet, in the face of these adversities, we stand unwavering and united. Even in our darkest times, we are stronger together. Our response to violence and hatred is not retreat but solidarity.

In this spirit, I call upon each of you to engage more deeply with our community and our allies. Let us use our anger and our grief as fuel for action. Fascists want to drive us away from each other. We must not let the narrative of fear isolate us or dim the vibrancy of our community. Let us show up for each other, stand together, and fight back against any attempt to push us to the margins.

As Marsha P. Johnson, mother of the queer liberation movement said, “No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.” Our struggles are interconnected, and our liberation is bound together. This Pride season, let us commit to being more visible, more vocal, and more united than ever. Let us transform our pain into power and our solidarity into action.

Together, we can overcome the forces of hate and build a world where love, in all its forms, triumphs.

With pride and solidarity,
Jim Sheppard

Jim Sheppard is a resident of Downtown Pittsburgh. Jim served as a Commissioner on the City of Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission which investigates instances of discrimination in the City of Pittsburgh and recommends necessary protections in our City Code to provide all people in Pittsburgh with equal opportunities. He has worked for Pittsburgh City Council, the Pittsburgh Mayor, and the Allegheny County Controller. For five years he was the President of the Steel City Stonewall Democrats. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (He / Him / His)