Many people are aware that June is Pride Month—a time of recognition, celebration, and acknowledgment of the influence that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer (LGBTQ) people have had all over the world. What most people might not know is the back story for Pride Month and what its roots are. To fully appreciate Pride Month, it is helpful to understand the origin.
In the 1950s and ‘60s, LGBTQ individuals faced an anti-gay legal system. For instance, seeking out same-sex relationships as well as wearing nongender-conforming clothes were both illegal at the time in New York City. Gay bars and clubs became a refuge for the LGBTQ community—a place where these persons could express their sexuality freely without fear of reprimand or discrimination. Violent police raids at gay bars became the norm in the 1960s.
On the morning of June 28, 1969, police squads descended on Stonewall Inn, a well-known gay bar located in Greenwich Village. The patrons and residents of the neighborhood, fed up with the continual discrimination and dehumanizing treatment of LGBTQ individuals, began to fight back. The riot quickly resulted in hundreds of people advocating for their rights. Over the next five days, protests involving thousands of people were held in solidarity. Though the Stonewall Uprising did not mark the beginning of the gay rights movement, it was a driving force for LGBTQ activism and led to the formation of many gay rights organizations dedicated to continued activism.
On June 28, 1970, the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riot, thousands of people marched through the streets of Manhattan from Stonewall Inn to Central Park, which became America’s first Gay Pride parade. The parade’s official chant was “Say it loud, gay is proud!”
Today, annual Pride parades are held around the world toward the end of June to commemorate the Stonewall Riot and its profound influence on the advancement of LGBTQ rights. The entire month of June is dedicated to celebrations and raising awareness of political issues that face the LGBTQ community.
Here are a few ways to become involved and to honor Pride Month:
- Become educated. Do research into the history of the gay rights movement and how it has changed throughout time and where LGBTQ rights are still under threat.
2. Be an ally. Learn and practice what it means to support the LGBTQ community.
3. Attend a Pride parade or other local celebrations/demonstrations.
4. Remind your LGBTQ friends, siblings, moms/dads, and neighbors that you value, respect, and appreciate them.
5. Show support in whatever way feels meaningful to you—through any of the ways listed here; consider putting a flag in your yard or window or donating to various LGBTQ support organizations.
In all things and in all ways, always be kind.