As June draws to a close, I’m reflecting on how inherently political Pride month is and how especially clear that has been in 2020. Pride was born out of the Stonewall Riots and the demonstrations against police brutality and the homophobia, transphobia and racism the LGBTQ+ community has faced.

As a queer man born and raised in North Carolina, many of the civil liberties I enjoy today are thanks to the queer and trans black and brown people who led the Stonewall uprising. With that history in mind, I proudly protested this month with the Black Lives Matter movement, fighting against the persistence of white supremacy and violence against black people.

There are a lot of reasons I’m proud — of our history, of this intersectional movement that grows stronger each day, and of recent victories like the Supreme Court’s ruling to bar workplace discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. But there are also a lot of reasons I’m not proud.

I’m not proud that days before the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Trump Administration rolled back health care protections for transgender Americans. I’m not proud that there are still sitting legislators in North Carolina who voted for Amendment One to ban same-sex marriage in the state. And I’m not proud that our state’s U.S. Senators Tillis and Burr confirm anti-LGBTQ+ justices like Brett Kavanagh, who dissented in the recent Supreme Court ruling that confirmed civil rights protections for gay and transgender workers.

As a NextGen North Carolina youth organizer, I have pride in my vote and in the power of my generation to make change and fight for equality. This November, we’ll take our values to the ballot box and vote out officials who have anti-LGBTQ+ and racist records.

Dustin Queen


Contact Bobby Burns at and 329.9572.