The Uphill Battle to “Say Gay” Amid Civil Rights Threats


Photo by Hansuan_Fabregas on Pixabay

Pride month may be coming to an end, but the fight for queer rights is ongoing. Two days ago, Vice President Kamala Harris visited the site of Stonewall, the historic birthplace of the gay rights movement. On this day in 1969, there was a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York City. This raid marked a pattern of repeated harassment against the LGBT+ communities who patronized the bar. As a result, a multi-day riot ensued.

Although trans activist Marsha P. Johnson is credited as throwing the first brick, she said in an interview that “the riots had already started” prior to her arrival. According to, there are competing accounts of who threw the first brick or Molotov cocktail at Stonewall. Nonetheless, Johnson’s impact is felt in the queer community and even beyond.

She and other activists like Sylvia Rivera, and Stormé DeLarverie were active during the riots. Fifty-four years later, their legacies are worth revisiting. Despite major strides like gay marriage and the end of sodomy laws, there has been a heavy backlash against the LGBT+ community in recent years.

Bob McCranie, leader of Texas Pride Realty Group, said that of the 140 anti-gay and anti-trans bills presented to the Texas legislature, nine of them got through. While that number may seem small, he added, “It impacts our ability to live, to get healthcare, to run our businesses.”

When he came out in 1992, it would be eleven years before McCranie could live as a “legal person,” in his words. In 2003, the reversal of Lawrence v. Texas marked a new day for gay rights.

It would be another eleven years before gay marriage would become legal, through the Obergefell v Hodges case in 2014. Alas, these protections are now in danger. When the historic reversal of Roe v. Wade happened, the 14th Amendment came under judicial threat. McCranie stated, “We just saw the 14th Amendment get knocked away with the Roe v. Wade ruling.”

As a result, other civil liberties have come under the spotlight. Following the reversal of Roe v. Wade, Justice Clarence Thomas called for renewed interest in three other rulings: Griswold v. Connecticut (contraception access), Obergefell v. Hodges (gay marriage), and Lawrence v. Texas (same-sex relationships), Politico reported. Two of these rulings affect the LGBT+ community.

“If we become illegal people again…what does that do for us living in these states?” McCranie asked. To fight these regressive laws, McCranie founded Texas Pride Realty Group, which helps get people out of anti-LGBT+ states and relocates them to sanctuary states and countries. According to McCranie, sanctuary states and anti-LGBT+ states are divided along party lines.

So, typically blue states have been welcoming for the most part, and traditionally red states have been enacting harm. These states include Texas, where McCranie is from, and Florida. To McCranie, Governors Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott are competing to see who can be the most harmful.

Abbott has called on Texas citizens to report parents of trans kids for abuse if they are providing gender-affirming care for their children. Simultaneously, DeSantis wanted to restrict Medicaid coverage for those seeking gender-affirming care.

As DeSantis vyes for a Presidential seat, he appeals to the same far-right base that elected and supported Donald Trump. McCranie mentioned that activists underestimated Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to take away former President Barack Obama’s ability to appoint a Supreme Court justice and then turn around and grant that right to former President Trump.

This was all strategic, Bob mentioned. In my view, the trans bans, book bans, and abortion bans are part of the Republican strategy to revert the country to the right. We must resist that. 

Bob said, “When I came out in 1992, I was an illegal person…it’s not my intention to go back to that.”


  • Javanna Plummer

    Javanna is the editor of "Rwebel Magazine," the architect behind "Rwebel Radio," and the pioneering force of "Xscape." Through her words, Javanna hopes to inspire creativity, passion, and forward-thinking.

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