Pride month: what you need to know about the LGBTQ celebration

Pride rallies are rooted in the arduous history of minority groups who have struggled for decades to overcome prejudice and be accepted for who they are.

The original organizers chose this month to pay tribute to the June 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City, which helped spark the modern gay rights movement. Most Pride events take place in June each year, although some cities hold their celebrations at other times of the year.

Pride events welcome anyone who feels like their gender identity isn’t mainstream – although many straight people also join.

LGBTQ is an acronym meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. The term is sometimes extended to LGBTQIA, to include intersex and asexual groups. Queer is an umbrella term for non-straight people; intersex refers to those whose sex is not clearly defined due to genetic, hormonal, or biological differences; and asexual describes those who do not experience sexual attraction.

These terms can also include people who are gender fluid, or those whose gender identity changes over time or depending on the situation.

How did it start?

In the early hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village, and began ferrying patrons outside. Tensions quickly escalated as patrons resisted arrest and a growing crowd of bystanders threw bottles and coins at officers. New York’s gay community, sated after years of harassment by authorities, erupted in neighborhood riots that lasted three days.

The uprising became a catalyst for an emerging gay rights movement as organizations such as the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance were formed, modeled on the civil rights movement and the women’s rights movement . Members staged protests, met with political leaders, and broke up public meetings to hold those leaders to account. A year after the Stonewall Riots, the country’s first Gay Pride marches took place.

In 2016, the area around the Stonewall Inn, still a popular nightclub today, was designated a national monument.

Where does the name Pride come from?

Members and allies of the LGBTQ community march on June 12, 2021 in Washington.
It is widely credited to Brenda Howard, a New York bisexual activist nicknamed the “Mother of Pride”, who organized the first Pride Parade to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.

What is the origin of the rainbow flag?

In 1978, artist and designer Gilbert Baker was commissioned by San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk – one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States – to craft a flag for the upcoming Pride celebrations. from the city.

Baker, a prominent gay rights activist, nodded to the stripes of the American flag but drew inspiration from the rainbow to reflect the many groups within the gay community.

A subset of flags represent other sexualities on the spectrum, such as bisexual, pansexual, and asexual.

Can I attend Pride events if I’m not LGBTQ?

Kamala Harris, then California Attorney General, takes part in the San Francisco Pride Parade in 2016.

Sure. Pride events welcome allies from outside the LGBTQ community. These are opportunities to show support, to observe, to listen and to be educated.

This story was first published in 2018.

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