The 18th annual the Jersey City Pride festival is a march for equality and empowerment.
Organizers say the gay rights movement in the U.S. has seen unprecedented progress in the last decade – such as allowing LGBT individuals to serve openly in the military and legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
However, a January 2017 survey conducted by the Center for American Progress showed that 1 in 4 LGBTQ+ members across the U.S. still continue to experience discrimination.
“LGBTQI people, especially of color, are still being discriminated in this great country and we have a current president that don’t care about us,” said Jahlisa Ross.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, candidate Donald Trump held a rainbow flag and promised that he would be “a good friend of the LGBT people.”
But in his first year in office – the Trump administration has been anything but LGBT-friendly.
In a tweet – the Trump administration has tried to reinstate a ban on transgender people to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.
Federal lawyers have taken the anti-LGBT side in court cases and it has refused to recognize pride month.
Paul Mendoza, co-founder of the Jersey City Pride festival, says they are also marching to get the vote out for the November midterm election.
“I think this year it’s so much more important in November, especially with what’s going on in the climate at the white house, we have to make we’re out there to vote, protect the rights that we have.”
Organizers say – the LGBTQ+ plus community needs more lawmakers who will fight for their rights.
Marchers believe it’s going to be a bumpy ride for the gay rights movement but they will continue to fight for their rights until discrimination becomes a thing of the past.