Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

NEIU Independent

Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

NEIU Independent

Northeastern Illinois University's student-run newspaper

NEIU Independent

Connect with us on Instagram
Join Our Newsletter
Stay up to date with all the NEIU News!

The Fight to Be Ourselves: LGBTQIA+ Pride and Standing Tall in The Face of Adversity

This year has shown the best and worst of humanity, whether that be the gruesome genocide of Palestinians, or, in the wake of Pride Month, communities gathering to show pride for themselves and others. Chicago has events every June, such as the Pride Festival and Parade. It is important to understand that Pride has always been a protest, especially when faced with hostility. Not just the hostility from the few people who sit on the corner with ‘God Hates Fags’ signs trying to yell over the even louder attendees of the Pride events, but also the hostility implied by a warning of terrorist attacks that will potentially target pride events en masse around the United States.

The FBI’s recent public service announcement (PSA) “provide[s] awareness to the public of foreign terrorist organizations (FTOS) or their supporters potential targeting of LGBTQIA+-related events and venues” in regards to this year’s Pride Month celebrations. On May 10th, the FBI disclosed that there have been threats made towards the LGBTQIA+ community. The PSA mentioned ISIS on three different occasions, all referring back to sympathizers and “pro-ISIS messaging”, referring to the Pulse nightclub shooting of 2016.

This PSA was shared on the social media platform for creating and sharing short videos known as TikTok, by Josh Helfgot. Tik Toker Helfgot uses clips from news broadcasts and shares them in a segment called “Gay News”. Despite the FBI’s PSA stating FTOS and their supporters, the news broadcast only mentioned ISIS as a foreign terrorist organization. While I don’t believe Helfgot intended to mislead his viewers, it could misled viewers.

For example, on Helfgot’s TikTok video, a user commented “Yeah ‘ISIS,’ ” using quotation marks for sarcastic effect, which warranted this response from another user: “Yeah ISIS. A legit terrorist organization.” To which the original commenter responded, “The US uses ISIS as a disguise for their crimes.”

Story continues below advertisement

When preparing for these events and attempting to understand why the FBI has leveled these warnings, it is important to remember that the acts of terrorism that occur in this country are often imposed by citizens of this country, rather than foreign terrorists. But it is understandable that the FBI’s PSA can be unsettling because of the constant fear LGBTQIA+ people face simply for existing authentically.

There has been no credible information proving that ISIS or other foreign terrorist organizations plan to attack these events, rather the FBI is spreading awareness of how domestic actors might potentially target Pride events. This PSA details that these violent threats could be made online, in person, or by mail, but again, there have been no direct threats made.  There have been rumors of threats every year to Pride parades around the nation, but for the FBI to step in and warn the public about such attacks is worrying. 


This isn’t the first time this year Queer folk have had to worry about their safety. Depending on what state they live in, they may be unable to receive gender-affirming care, which can mean life or death for some. Alexa, a transgender woman from Indiana wrote in a guest post on ACLU Indiana stating,


Since I had started gender-affirming hormone therapy, my mental health improved. My struggles with suicidal ideation started to disappear into the background like a sunset on the beach. I wanted to live. I wanted to go on… I finally could envision myself growing old.”


She wrote this post last year to fight to stop Senate Bill 480 in Indiana which “prohibits gender transition procedures and treatments for minors in Indiana.” Unfortunately, this law has since gone into effect and poses a risk for transgender youth. The worst thing is, it isn’t just Indiana.

The Human Rights Campaign, one of the biggest LGBTQIA+ advocacy groups in the United States, had put out a travel advisory to queer folk going into Florida. Due to the aggressive anti-LGBTQIA+ laws signed in by Governor Ron Desantis, “six anti-LGBTQ bills were passed and nearly all have been signed by Governor DeSantis”. An example of this is the fact that someone could potentially be arrested for using the bathroom of the gender they identify as.

These are stark reminders of why LGBTQIA+ Pride month began with the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969. According to the Library of Congress, the Stonewall Rebellion (also known as the Stonewall Riots) began when police raided the Stonewall Inn, a New York gay bar. Unfortunately, it was common for gay bars to be raided by police at that time.

This lasted many days described by a Stonewall Veterans Association, “The rebellion (it was never a ‘riot’) lasted five in consecutive nights (they were not ‘riots’).” Therefore, calling it a rebellion or uprising is better than calling it a riot, which carries a very negative connotation.  This historical moment is a celebration but it is also a protest for LGBTQIA+ people that have consistently had to fight for the right to exist.

LGBTQIA+ pride will always be a protest calling out the unfair treatment of people who don’t identify as cisgender and heterosexual. We will always have to fight for our rights if anything is to be solved, as it shows that nothing is done by sitting around and hoping the problem will fix itself. 

While members of the NEIU community go out to celebrate their pride in being who they are and loving who they love, it’s best to stay vigilant of your surroundings. Unfortunately, we have to worry for our lives, but it’s what the people who want to hurt us want. We have to stand in the face of adversity and be louder and prouder than ever before. The NEIU community is resilient and has shown they won’t let the oppressor win. When attending Pride events this year, be safe and know how to keep yourself and others safe.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Ryland Roberts
Ryland Roberts, Online Editor
Ryland is studying Education at NEIU. Originally, He joined The Independent as a photographer in Fall 2023. Within the Fall 2023 semester, they gained the roles of Social Media Manager, Online editor, and staff writer. Only being at NEIU since Fall 2023, He is passionate about what he does and plans to hone his journalism skills while working at the newspaper.

Comments (0)

Comments are subject to review for slurs and offensive language. Comments will not be edited except to modify profanity.
All NEIU Independent Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content