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Guam Legislature gets in the Pride spirit

By Johnnie Rosario

The Sisters of the Moonlight, an informal group of gay men and their fabulous female friends, painted the Guam Congress Building campus rainbow today in honor of Pride Month.

June nationally and historically is recognized as Pride Month. Americans throughout the country, including its territories, celebrate, honor, and bring awareness to the issues facing lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, and queers in the country.

In a first for any U.S. president, President Joe Biden Wednesday signed a presidential proclamation declaring Trans Day of Visibility.

“In spite of our progress in advancing civil rights for LGBTQ+ Americans, too many transgender people — adults and youth alike — still face systemic barriers to freedom and equality,” Biden wrote in the proclamation. “Transgender Americans of all ages face high rates of violence, harassment, and discrimination.”

He called the long-standing issues facing the transgender community, "a stain on our nation's conscience."

Tyra Sablan

In the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, advocate Tyra Sablan founded T-Project, a non-profit organization whose "main objective is to provide services in helping with name change, getting identification, providing sources of information on transition related topics such as health and even a place for parents of transgender youth to be able to come to us so we may direct them to credible and reliable sources within the vast network of LGBT advocates and providers, amongst many other services," according to Sablan.

"I want the CNMI's youth to have the things that I didn't have growing up, to have hope and most importantly, for them to know that their government recognizes them as human beings," Ms. Sablan said.

Tyra Sablan has sought and is receiving support from Rep. Tina Sablan, with ideas for legislation to improve the lives of the CNMI's LGBTQ community under discussion.

Meanwhile, Guam's LGBTQ community like the Sisters of the Moonlight have generally received support from both political parties (though not all of their members) in the way of legislative reform and even substantial administrative change in the government of Guam.

Today's decoration of the Guam Congress Building campus was sanctioned by Speaker Therese Terlaje and Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes (whose Rules Committee controls legislative facilities), both of whom have been advocates for the LGBTQ community on island.

p.s. - Two-thirds of Kandit, Inc. is proudly gay-owned and -operated.

(PHOTOS of the Guam Congress Building decorating courtesy of the Sisters of the Moonlight)

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