Since the year 2000, June has been nationally recognized as Pride Month in the United States. For members of the LGBTQ+ community, the thirty days of June are a time to celebrate the advancements the Pride movement has made in fighting for the rights of all sexualities and gender identities, and to bring awareness to all the work that still must be done to ensure equality. While many people have come to associate Pride Month with rainbow flags, vibrant parades, and (lots) of corporate bandwagoning, the origins of the Pride movement are still not widely recognized outside of the LGBTQ+ community.
Pride Month originally began as a way to honor the LGBTQ+ folks who took part in the Stonewall Riots. In the 60s and 70s, police would often raid bars where they suspected people to be wearing or performing in drag, which was illegal. On the night of June 28th, 1969 (hence the June celebration of Pride Month), New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn bar. Led by trans Persons of Color (POC) activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the bar patrons fought back against the violent police raid, which eventually transformed into protests, marches, and sit-ins in the following weeks.
Despite the fact that the Pride was spearheaded by trans and gender-expansive POC, many have long since attempted to erase their actions and identities from the movement. In fact, the first nationally recognized Pride Month was known only as “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month,” a term which completely excludes trans and gender-expansive folks, as well as those who are bisexual, asexual, etc. Although today the Pride movement strives to be more inclusive to all of those in the LGBTQ+ community, it is vital that we not allow the origins of Pride Month to go unrecognized and uncelebrated!
Article: “The Origins of Pride Month: What You Should Know About Its History”
Author: Jay Polish