Pride Month takes place during June. It features various events dedicated to uplifting 2SLGBTQIA+ voices and supporting queer culture and LGBTQ+ rights. During this month across North America, there have been parades, protests, drag performances, theater, events, and celebrations of life for those in the community that lost their lives to HIV/AIDS. Pride encompasses many things, whether it’s activism or celebration.
What is the History of Pride?
LGBTQ+ Pride month occurs every year in the United States and other countries and commemorates the Stonewall riots, which took place on June 28, 1969. During this moment in history, police raided the Stonewall Inn bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood because LGBTQ+ folks frequented the bar.
The following year the first Christopher Street Liberation Day was celebrated on June 28, 1970, marking the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots. A march took place, which was the very first Pride march in the history of New York, spanning 51 blocks to Central Park. Reporting by The Village Voice described the event as “the out-front resistance that grew out of the police raid on the Stonewall Inn one year ago.” Many people also gathered on Christopher Street that day.
In 2015, the Stonewall Inn was named a historic landmark by New York City and declared a national monument by President Barack Obama in 2016.
Why Does Pride take Place in June?
Pride occurs in June to honor the previously mentioned Stonewall Uprising. In our article 10 LGBTQ+ Historical and Pop Culture Moments in Time, you can read more about the Stonewall Riots.
Notable Pride Figures
Marsha P. Johnson: She is known to have thrown the first punch at the Stonewall Inn, among other people who have been rumored of done so. Marsha was a Black trans woman celebrating her 25th birthday during the time of the riots and an icon in the LGBTQ+ community. Learn more about how the Marsha P. Johnson Institute has been helping black trans folks during COVID-19.
Sylvia Rivera: She was an activist and self-professed drag queen who played a significant part during the Stonewall Riots. Rivera was an advocate for transgender rights along with Johnson. They formed the organization S.T.A.R. (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) to help provide housing for unhoused LGBTQ+ youth.
Stormé DeLarverie: She was an LGBTQ+ rights activist and drag performer at the Stonewall Inn during the raid. She was also one of the rumored people to throw the first punch.
Why Are These Celebrations Important?
Having an entire month devoted to Pride featuring various events and celebrations is incredible for the community, especially since it wasn’t long ago that LGBTQ+ people could not live openly, authentically, happily, and freely.
Pride has continued to grow and become more popular as the years go on. Even though this may be seen as a positive thing, sometimes negative consequences can occur due to it being more mainstream. For example, many corporations “show their support” for LGBTQ+ folks and the community for the month but don’t always show their support after June. For more details about this, you can read our extensive article What is Rainbow Capitalism and Why is it Harmful?
Pride Month and celebrations aren’t just about the entertainment, like watching drag shows or buying rainbow products; there are many reasons why it’s essential.
Pride normalizes families and people that do not fit into a heteronormative bubble. People need to see families in real life that aren’t just straight, cisgender couples.
Celebrating Pride also provides an avenue for showcasing the diversity within the LGBTQ+ community. In addition, it shows LGBTQ+ youth that there is a community where they can feel safe and belong, which can create hope for a positive future.
Why Is There No “Straight” Pride Month?
“Straight Pride” and “Heterosexual Pride” are analogies and slogans that copy the phrase “Gay Pride.” These ignorant ideas come from the Culture Wars in the United States and are a way for conservatives to create backlash for not having a heterosexual civil rights movement. This movement has received much criticism from inside and outside the LGBTQ+ community and continues to gain media attention.
If someone asks you why there’s no “straight” Pride, you can always say the following to them:
- Straight people have privilege year-round.
- Straight people aren’t discriminated against, assaulted, or killed for being straight.
- People that are straight and cisgender have always been able to get married.
- Straight and cis people are represented much more in the media and are in every mainstream narrative.
- Straight cis people aren’t denied medical treatment or have their fundamental human rights violated.
How to Celebrate Pride
There are many ways you can celebrate Pride during June. Many cities feature Pride parades, events, and more. Be sure to look into your local 2SLGBTQIA+ organizations and see what your city is putting on regarding Pride. If there are no Pride events in your city, look for a nearby town that may have these events.
You can also spend your time volunteering or donating during this month. Many community groups are looking for volunteers, and it’s an excellent way to give back to the community.
Becoming an advocate and educating yourself about Pride, LGBTQ+ rights and history, and more can positively impact you. It’s also essential to support LGBTQ+ art and culture within your community.
Pride is an excellent way to celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ community. In addition, Pride isn’t just exclusive to June, and the 2SLGBTQIA+ community can be celebrated year-round. Here are some more days of awareness and celebrations:
- Trans Day of Visibility – March 31
- Lesbian Visibility Day – April 26
- International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia – May 17
- Non-Binary People’s Day – July 14
- Bisexual Awareness Week – third week of September
- National Coming Out Day – October 11