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PATRIOTIC

 

John Cena: Love and Patriotism

Happy Fourth?

All American Boy by Steve Grand

Patriotism and the LGBTQ Rights Movement

National Anthem by Lady Gaga at Biden Inauguration
Presidential Proclamation: LGBTQ Pride 2022

This Land is Your Land: Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen
You're a Firework: Katy Perry

Supporting LGBTQ Employees Is a Patriotic Act
Love Sweet Love

Patriotism and Understanding Military Service Among LGBTQ Veterans
This is My Fight Song
The Patriotism of LGBTQ Pride
Party In The USA by Miley Cyrus
LGBTQ Members of the US Military

American Life by Madonna
James Baldwin Quotes About America

My Country Tis of Thee (New Version)

 

LGBTQ and Patriotism
 

How To Celebrate LGBTQ Rights On The 4th Of July

On July 4, 1965, forty gay and lesbian activists protested outside of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, in what is widely considered to be the first LGBTQ civil rights demonstration. In 2015, on the 50th anniversary of that historic protest, Philadelphia honored LGBTQ rights during its Fourth of July celebration. To add to the already-monumental occasion, it also was the first July 4 on which every same-sex couple in America will be free to marry. It was only natural (if not necessary) to celebrate both the anniversary of American Independence and LGBTQ rights on Fourth of July, not just in Philadelphia, but in every city across America.

 



Every year, July 4 marks the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The statement, which announced the formation of the United States of America as sovereign states from Great Britain says: All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.


Those are some pretty epic words right there, the very words that set our great nation apart in the international community, that give weight to the theory of American exceptionalism. Except they're a farce. In fact, there's a big problem with how we've been celebrating the Declaration of Independence for many decades. Not all Americans could enjoy such unalienable rights, nor could they pursue the same kind of happiness that others could. These Americans are part of the LGBTQ community, and until recently, they'd been excluded from the promises laid out in the Declaration of Independence.


 

But that all changed in 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage a Constitutional right in all 50 states, marking the biggest milestone in the LGBTQ civil rights movement's 50-year history. Though SCOTUS's decision was timed during Pride Month and right before the Pride March and anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City, there is another day all Americans should spend celebrating our newfound marriage equality. . . Independence Day!  After all, American independence and LGBTQ independence should not be two separate things.

 

On the Fourth of July, we can truly honor the Declaration of Independence because all Americans are finally included in its set of ideals. Here are ways to celebrate both American independence and LGBTQ rights.

--Include rainbow flags among the countless American flags that are on display.

--Make a playlist of songs about freedom, liberty, and justice (and mix in some disco).


--Among the red-white-and-blue fireworks, include rainbow fireworks.

 

 

--Have a drag show that features drag queens dressed as fabulous over-the-top versions of the Statue of Liberty, Betsy Ross, Miss Firecracker, Rosie the Riveter, Lady Justice, Dolly Madison, and Molly Pitcher, and flamboyant femme versions of Uncle Sam, Yankee Doodle Dandy, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, the Minute Men, and those three Spirit of 76 guys.


--Host a red-white-and blue party and ask guests to dress in red-white-and blue. Decorate in red-white-and-blue,  Serve red-white-and-blue snacks and drinks.

 

--Rewrite the Declaration of Independence in the context of LGBTQ rights. Replace "all men are created equal" with "all people are created equal."  Make the document gender-neutral.


--Have a movie marathon of gay classics, like The Birdcage, Milk, Boys in the Band, Love Simon, Moonlight, and Sordid Lives . . . and extremely patriotic movies, like 1776, Hamilton, Yankee Doodle Dandy, The Patriot, Flags of Our Fathers, Private Ryan, Born on the Fourth of July, Miracle, and The Right Stuff.

 


--Host a group reading of the Declaration of Independence.

 

--Create a trivia game with questions about both the founding of America and the LGBTQ civil rights movement.

 

--Have a dance/choreography/performance/lip sync contest (ballroom style) using modern pop songs about America (Born in the USA, Party in the USA, ROCK in the USA, Coming to America, Living in America, American Pie).

 

--Organize a picnic, barbecue, pool party, or skating party with a patriotic (and LGBTQ) theme.

 

--You and your friends get together and binge-watch every episode of the Bicentennial Edition of Schoolhouse Rock.  Have lyric sheets handy so everyone can sing along.  Take a drink every time "America" is mentioned.

 

--Have a karaoke party in which participants sing patriotic songs.


--Throw a costume party and have everyone dress up as the Founding Fathers.

[Source: Alicia Lu, Bustle Magazine]

 

John Cena: Love and Patriotism

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National Anthem by Lady Gaga at Biden Inauguration
Presidential Proclamation: LGBTQ Pride 2022

You're a Firework: Katy Perry

The Long, Ongoing Debate Over 'All Men Are Created Equal'
Liberace, Art Carney, Dean Martin: Hot Pants Dance (1971)
Supporting LGBTQ Employees Is a Patriotic Act
Love Sweet Love

Patriotism and Understanding Military Service Among LGBTQ Veterans
This is My Fight Song
The Patriotism of LGBTQ Pride
America: Land of Queer Opportunity
Party In The USA by Miley Cyrus

This Land is Your Land: Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen

LGBTQ Members of the US Military

American Life by Madonna
James Baldwin Quotes About America

My Country Tis of Thee (New Version)

 

 

Is the American Dream For All Americans?
 

"There’s never been equality for me, nor freedom in this homeland of the free."

-Langston Hughes

 

“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
-James Baldwin

 

As fireworks hearken the commemoration of Independence Day, it is helpful to remind ourselves that this democratic experiment is a work in progress. Over the past 246 years of growing pains, the United States of America has been in the process of learning what it means for all its citizens to be free. Little by little, the promise of liberty has been reluctantly extended beyond wealthy, straight, white males. While progress has been made, it has taken far too long for the blessings of freedom to eventually make its way to women, blacks, minorities, gays, the poor, and otherwise disenfranchised and powerless. As we continue to fight for our rights and defend our freedoms, may we soon come to appreciate the ongoing internal struggle that is inherent to living in a less than perfect union.

 

In 2022, the 4th of July might feel more aspirational than prescriptive. While harboring some cynicism at this time, we must still believe that all people are created equal. We must still believe in e pluribus unum . . . out of many, one.  While our courts and politicians seem to be indicating otherwise, we must still believe that one day we will judge a person not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. We still believe that women, blacks, minorities, gays, and the poor deserve equal justice, equal access, and personal independence. We still believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

 

Is the American Dream available to all Americans?  The elusiveness of the fruits of liberty are all too apparent to women, blacks, minorities, gays, and the poor.  America needs to do a better job in assuring the rights and freedoms of all its citizens.  Among those who understand the struggle are Langston Hughes and James Baldwin, both black, both gay.

 

 

“The American Dream belongs to all of us.”
–Kamala Harris, California Attorney General

“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

“There are those who will say that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind is nothing but a dream. They are right. It is the American Dream.”
–Archibald Macleish, Poet

“The promise of the American Dream requires that we are all provided an equal opportunity to participate in and contribute to our nation.”
-Charles B. Rangel, US Congress

 

“I have spent my life judging the distance between American reality and the American dream.”
-Bruce Springsteen, Musician

“To me, the American Dream is being able to follow your own personal calling. To be able to do what you want to do is incredible freedom.”
-Maya Lin, Architect

“For many, the American dream has become a nightmare.”
-Bernie Sanders, US Senator

"In the end, the American dream is not a sprint, or even a marathon, but a relay. Our families don't always cross the finish line in the span of one generation. But each generation passes on to the next the fruits of their labor."
-Julian Castro, Politician and Lawyer

 

 

Let America Be America Again
 

by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again. Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain seeking a home where he himself is free.
America never was America to me.

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed. Let it be that great strong land of love,
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme, that any man be crushed by one above.
It never was America to me.

O, let my land be a land where Liberty is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free, and equality is in the air we breathe.
There’s never been equality for me, nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.”

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

 



I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart. I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land. I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek,
And finding only the same old stupid plan of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope, tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land! Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay! Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil. I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all. I am the people, humble, hungry, mean.
Hungry yet today despite the dream. Beaten yet today, O Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead, the poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream in the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true, that even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned that’s made America the land it has become.

 


 

O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas in search of what I meant to be my home.
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore, and Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came to build a “homeland of the free.”

The free? Who said the free? Not me? Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike? The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed. And all the songs we’ve sung.
And all the hopes we’ve held. And all the flags we’ve hung.
The millions who have nothing for our pay, except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again, the land that never has been yet.
And yet must be. The land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine. The poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, me.
 

Who made America, whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain, must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose. The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives, e must take back our land again.


America! O, yes, I say it plain!
America never was America to me.
And yet I swear this oath, America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death, the rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem the land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain, all the stretch of these great green states,
And make America again!
 

John Cena: Love and Patriotism

Happy Fourth?

All American Boy by Steve Grand

Patriotism and the LGBTQ Rights Movement

National Anthem by Lady Gaga at Biden Inauguration
Presidential Proclamation: LGBTQ Pride 2022

You're a Firework: Katy Perry

Supporting LGBTQ Employees Is a Patriotic Act
Love Sweet Love

Patriotism and Understanding Military Service Among LGBTQ Veterans
This is My Fight Song
The Patriotism of LGBTQ Pride
Liberace, Art Carney, Dean Martin: Hot Pants Dance (1971)

Party In The USA by Miley Cyrus
The Long, Ongoing Debate Over 'All Men Are Created Equal'

LGBTQ Members of the US Military

American Life by Madonna
James Baldwin Quotes About America

America: Land of Queer Opportunity

My Country Tis of Thee (New Version)

 

July 4th in the Queer Community
 

America is OK because it still has the Chicago Cubs. But, honestly, I’ve never been less enthusiastic about the 4th of July in my life and I’m in no mood to celebrate.

-Ken Schultz, Journalist, Stand Up Comic

 

What does Independence Day represent to LGBTQ folks? Today is the 4th of July: Independence Day in the United States. And in my lifetime, we have rarely been more divided. Not just politically, but in our opposition or support of America’s criminal justice system, our social media, our response to a national health crisis, and in the denial or embrace of science. Caught in the middle, or at times entirely forgotten, is our LGBTQ population. Most history books leave out gays, lesbians, bisexuals and  transgender people in the telling of the colonists’ declaration of independence from their English oppressors.
-Dawn Ennis, Journalist

 



What Independence Day means to me is a day that we celebrate our independence and freedom, but everyone is not free. We live in a country where LGBTQ people and people of color don’t have the same freedom to pursue education, housing, jobs, and economic advancement compared to our white cisgender heterosexual counterparts. In the past couple of years, we saw the conversation and celebration of intersectionality with the Black Lives Matter Movement, but let me be clear, Independence Day is not a day for those that come from disenfranchised communities. As a LGBTQ person of color, I will be dedicating the 4th of July to remember the Indigenous people who were slaughtered to form this country and my black ancestors who built it. Because of everything that has happened in the past couple of months, I’m proud to say I am a Multicultural LGBTQ individual in America.

-Justice Horn, Community Organizer

 

Independence Day has always meant the same thing to me: A celebration of the birth of America and our freedoms. Even though we are not the most free country in the world, it is a day to celebrate and appreciate the freedoms we do have.

-Ryan O'Callaghan, NFL Football Player

 



Our nation needs to grow up! This Independence Day finds our nation having to deal with its national immaturity. COVID, race relations, LGBTQ relations, our body politics, our place in the world. These are things we need to ponder and this is perfect time to do it. Events leading up to our Fourth of July holiday represent another example for this nation to rise above its flaws and evolve. As a nation, we must accept the challenges before us and resolve to make decisions that will ensure a better future for everyone.

-Karleigh Chardonnay Webb, Athlete, Journalist

 

It would take on a lot more meaning if there was independence and freedom of oppression for all people. The world is calling out for justice for ALL Black lives, that is where true independence resides. The people are calling out for Queer and Trans liberation, that is where true freedom lives.

-Jaycee Cooper, Transgender Weightlifter, Advocate

 

 

This year 4th of July feels a lot different to me. The 4th of July to me used to be a fun day filled with being outdoors, grilling out, fireworks, and friends and family. With everything that’s going on in our country I think there’s been a shift in many people’s attitudes because there’s been a light shed on the flaws in the foundation that our country was built on. As a Black LGBTQ woman I experience the consequences of these flaws on a daily basis. The principle of liberty and justice for all that our country was founded on isn’t an accurate depiction of the struggles that many LGBTQ, POC, disabled, poor people face trying to gain our basic human rights in this country. So, although the 4th of July is a fun holiday I think it’s important to remember that the freedom we celebrate isn’t really freedom until everyone is free and has equality.

-Kaitlyn Long, Advocate, Athlete

 

For me, this Independence Day observes the escape from tyranny for some and not others. This has been the case each year. But this year, the observation is more visible. I think it’s safe at this point to say straight white cisgender men as a whole are the only ones who escaped the tyranny of themselves while becoming tyrants to the rest of the population. This is more their holiday than anyone else’s. So, kudos to them for the joy of reaping its benefits.

-Fallon Fox, Transgender Athlete

 

 
 

I think that Independence Day right now, in the context of the the current environment is in the turmoil that is occurring in the country for all for so many folk who are struggling and who have been systemically oppressed. I think that it is a day that needs to be used for reflection and for activism, for elevating those voices who have been oppressed, Because although the country may be celebrating this Independence Day, there are still many people who don’t really have that independence, who don’t have that equal opportunity.

-Rachel McBride, Non-Binary Triathlete

To me, the 4th is about quaint symbols (fireworks, community picnics, Uncle Sam, red-white-and-blue bunting) that overshadow a reality that so many people are not truly free. My dream is that our LGBTQ fellow Americans could experience freedom and acceptance to the point that the aforementioned symbols are just as quaint (and corny) to them.

-Dr. John Carvalho, Journalism Professor

 

John Cena: Love and Patriotism

Happy Fourth?

All American Boy by Steve Grand

Patriotism and the LGBTQ Rights Movement

National Anthem by Lady Gaga at Biden Inauguration
Liberace, Art Carney, Dean Martin: Hot Pants Dance (1971)

Presidential Proclamation: LGBTQ Pride 2022

America: Land of Queer Opportunity

This Land is Your Land: Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen

You're a Firework: Katy Perry

Supporting LGBTQ Employees Is a Patriotic Act
Love Sweet Love

Patriotism and Understanding Military Service Among LGBTQ Veterans
This is My Fight Song
The Patriotism of LGBTQ Pride
Party In The USA by Miley Cyrus
LGBTQ Members of the US Military

The Long, Ongoing Debate Over 'All Men Are Created Equal'

American Life by Madonna
James Baldwin Quotes About America

My Country Tis of Thee (New Version)

 

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