June is Pride Month, and it’s dedicated to celebrating the work of LGBTQIA+ activists who have changed the world. The gatherings that take place over the course of the month allow LGBTQIA+ individuals to celebrate who they are, and who they are proud to be. By going to Pride events, the community gets to celebrate who they are and who they love. The welcoming and accepting nature of these events relieves any person of fear they might otherwise experience in the world.
What Is Pride Month?
Dedicated to uplifting LGBTQIA+ voices, Pride Month celebrates LGBTQIA+ rights and culture. Throughout the month, there are many celebrations that take place, including parades, protests, live theater, memorials, drag performances, and more. Additionally, there are many celebrations of life that commemorate members of the community who lost their lives to HIV/AIDS. Part of the month is about political activism, while the other part focuses on celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community and the victories it has achieved over the years.
Why Is June Pride Month?
Early in the morning on June 28th, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich village. Officers started hauling patrons outside and tensions escalated quickly. Patrons resisted arrest and a large crowd of bystanders began throwing coins, bottles, and other things at the officers. Fed up by the harassment by authorities, New York’s gay community broke out in neighborhood riots that lasted three days.
The uprising served as somewhat of a catalyst for an emerging gay rights movement. For example, the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance formed after the historic event. These organizations modeled themselves after the civil rights and women’s rights movements. Members of the organizations held protests, met with political leaders, and interrupted public meetings to hold leaders accountable. One year after the Stonewall riots, the nation’s first Gay Pride marches took place.
What does LGBTQIA+ Stand For?
LGBTQIA+ is an inclusive term that includes people of all genders and sexualities. The acronym stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, intersex, asexual, pansexual, and allies. Each letter may stand for a specific group of people, but the term encompasses the entire spectrum of gender fluidity and sexual identities. Queer is an umbrella term for non-straight people, while intersex refers to those whose sex does not have a clear definition because of hormonal, genetic, or biological differences.
Where Did Pride Come From?
According to historical accounts, many people credit Brenda Howard as being the “Mother of Pride.” She organized the first Pride parade to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.
Where Did the Rainbow Flag Originate?
The rainbow flag, created by artist Gilbert Baker in 1978, is a commonly used symbol of LGBTQIA+ ride. Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the U.S., commissioned Baker to make a flag for the city’s upcoming Pride celebrations. Baker, a prominent gay rights activist, used the stripes on the American flag as inspiration, but used the rainbow to include the many groups within the gay community. Many people don’t know that each color of the flag has its own meaning. Red symbolizes life, orange is healing, yellow is sunshine, green is nature, blue is harmony, and purple is spirit. The original eight-color flag included hot pink and turquoise. The former represented sex, while the latter represented magic and art.
Pride events welcome allies from outside the LGBTQIA+ community. There are many opportunities to show support, observe, listen, and learn more about Pride during the month of June. See what your community has to offer via social media, news outlets, and more. Happy Pride Month!