LGBT Pride Month: Origins and Importance

Updated May 23, 2022 | Infoplease Staff

Pride month, celebrated every year in June, serves as a tribute and a show of honor to members of the LGBTQ community and others involved in the stonewall riots of June 28, 1969, in Manhattan. It is a period of celebration, self-affirmation, and community reflection on intersectionality.

LGBTQ is an umbrella term to include Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender people, and Queers. Pride Month is done to mark years of fighting for civil rights, seeking justice under the law, decriminalizing homosexuality, and celebrating the achievements of LGBTQ individuals.

The History of Pride Month

On June 28, 1969, the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, New York City. Inn employees were arrested, bar patrons were assaulted, and they cleared out the place. Apart from being a club, it was a place of refuge and freedom for people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, as there was free gender expression without any fear of hate or discrimination.

While at that time, it was common for witnesses of police raids against LGBTQ individuals to stand by and do nothing, and many would have allowed the action, the bar patrons, staff of the Stonewall Inn, and residents of Greenwich Village instead took to the streets and demanded better for LGBTQ individuals.

When was Pride Month Created?

Pride Month was initially a protest that marked the stonewall riot of June 1969. A year after the Stonewall riots, a bisexual activist known as the "Mother of Pride", Brenda Howard, organized the first gay pride week and the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade to flag off the first pride week.

Hundreds of people, growing into thousands marched towards the central park in a display that stretched out 15 city blocks.

The Pride Flag

The rainbow flag, an integral part of the celebration of Pride Month, was commissioned by the gay politician Harvey Milk in 1978. He asked Gilbert Baker, a designer and a friend, to design an all-encompassing flag for all community members.

Although Harvey was killed that year by an angry colleague before the Pride celebration, the rainbow gay pride flag was flown on June 25, 1978.

The Importance of Pride Month and Pride Parade

Gay Pride Month is a significant time for members of the LGBTQ community to express their need for justice and equity within society. It plays a more critical role in societies where there is little or no law enabling the freedom of expression of members of the LGBTQ community.

A significant issue that is constantly pushed for during Pride Month is the freedom for its members to get married lawfully. The celebration ensures that important matters like this are kept in the news, and proper authorities understand the importance of the community and its members.

For some others, the month signifies a great time to support their families who are members of the community, experiencing criticism and stigmatization. Pride Month is an opportunity to support families that have encountered such challenges and champion equal rights.

Another critical importance of LGBT Pride Month is the togetherness the month brings to community members. It encourages them and reminds them of the need to diversify and improve the inclusivity of LGBTQ+.

It’s also necessary to keep the memories of members of the community who lost their lives while fighting for the course of the LGBTQ community.

How to Celebrate Pride Month

Since the Stonewall uprising, the pride celebration has grown, with over 2 million people taking part in the New York Pride parade in 2019, making history as one of the largest and most famous parades.

Pride Month, which quickly spread as a liberation movement to places like Los Angeles and San Francisco in its early days, is now celebrated in Australia, Berlin, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It is spreading into various other countries.

Pride Month is a period of celebrating inclusivity over prejudice and discrimination. Therefore, the celebration comes in support of LGBTQ+ people and groups, advocating and making their voices heard in support of inclusion and systemic justice for the pride community.

It is equally important to educate oneself and others about the history and facts of Pride Month. Quelling the mainstream misinformation about the celebration and knowing the activists and advocates who have made significant contributions to promoting diversity worldwide is also essential.

Pride Month is not only celebrated by people who identify as LGBTQ. It is also celebrated by their families, friends, technological and entertainment giants, and government officials in solidarity with the pride community.

For example, Google commemorates the month through the Google doodle. The United States embassies around the world fly the pride flag. American presidents and other officials often make official statements. International organizations like the United Nations make statements on their sites to show support and solidarity with the LGBT community. Various entertainment companies and news media also show support by featuring the pride march.

The activities of Pride Month and its historical celebrations vary in different countries, influenced by local culture and societal trends. Pride events feature important things like the march in various cities, flying the pride flag, and lobbying with the government to push for more rights for the LGBT community. Since the start of the pandemic, activities have now been done both online and physically.

Current Challenges for the LGBTQ

There has been a tremendous increase in support and acceptance since the first Pride Month; nevertheless, the LGBTQ+ continue to face discrimination and stigmatization.

The struggle for human rights won’t stop. Hence, the existence of the gay rights movement is critical.

The pride community is saddled with social isolation and barriers that hinder the community from assessing basic social services. There is always the fear of being identified within society and confidently expressing sexual orientation without criticism or fear of hate crimes.

Issues like employment discrimination against its members are still rampant. Many industries say they are concerned about their employees' sexuality and do not employ members of this community, especially in highly religious societies.

It is important to know that an employer is not allowed to discriminate because of sexual orientation and gender identity in the US and can be sued for violation of rights. Landlords are also not to refuse rent to the LGBTQ community. However, no federal law bans discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in public spaces. Some areas are still very hostile to the presence of members of the LGBTQ community.

In the fight for equity for members of the LGBTQ community, activism and advocacy have become major strides for the community.

Efforts are made to encourage more leadership proactiveness at the level of the United Nations. Members also look to lobbying politicians to change local and national laws of various countries to establish guiding laws that ensure protection for their members.

LGBT Pride Going Forward

The LGBT Pride Month has a lot of significance to the gay community and for gay liberation. Societal acceptance and the fight for equity are necessary for the community to have the freedom to express their gender and sexual orientation. The role of external bodies like the United Nations will help ensure that the community’s dignity and equity are achieved.

Check out our content on the theories of homosexuality, featuring people’s personal stories and various contributions from science. You can also find out about the historical places of the pride movement and LGBTQ Pride Month.

 

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