Wave your flag proudly, beautiful people! It’s Pride Month, and despite the everyday struggles around us, one can still hope that better things are on the horizon, especially for the LGBTQ+ community. Pride Month isn’t just about big parades and parties — it’s also a celebration that’s deeply rooted in activism. Today, we’re listing down eight awesome things you need to know about Pride Month.
Why is Pride Month celebrated in June?
Pride Month is an event that commemorates the June 1969 Stonewall riots (also known as the Stonewall Uprising) where people came together to resist oppression and harassment from police. “Life for gay people was zero to nonexistent,” Joe Negrelli, one of the witnesses to the Stonewall riots, says in an interview with People Magazine. “If you were gay, you were not going to get a job, or a legitimate job. It was perfectly legal to discriminate against you in housing.”
Five decades after this historic event, more have joined the movement to fight back against hate crimes, discrimination, and prejudice against the queer community.
What led to the Stonewall riots?
The Stonewall Inn is a popular gay club in Greenwich Village. At that time, being part of the LGBT community was frowned upon. Engaging in gay behavior in public was illegal; you couldn’t even dance with someone of the same sex. And so the gay community saw nightclubs and bars as safe spaces where they could be themselves.
One evening, police officers raided the Stonewall Inn, which prompted days of protests from bargoers and neighborhood residents. This event gave birth to a new era of activism.
The first march of many
The first-ever Pride parade was held on June 28, 1970, one year after the Stonewall riots. Members of the LGBTQ+ community walked proudly on the streets, all in high spirits while carrying their large, colorful banners. After many decades, it’s such a joy to see that Pride marches continue to grow in numbers and more events being held.
Why is the Pride flag a rainbow?
There’s more to the rainbow flag than meets the eye. Its earliest version was designed by drag artist Gilbert Baker, inspired by the shades of a rainbow. Each color has its meaning; pink for sex, red for life, orange represents healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise symbolizes art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit.
The Pride flag later adopted a six-color design, removing pink and turquoise colors due to mass production issues. Regardless of the design change, the message of unity, equality, and hope represented by the Pride flag will be forever relevant in our memory.
How is Pride celebrated today?
Many countries celebrate Pride Month differently, but one thing is sure — events are always lively, fun, and full of color. In Toronto, Canada, the month of June is packed with music festivals, parades, and exhibits! Meanwhile, Israel’s Tel Aviv Pride attracts thousands of attendees to participate in exciting events like dance parties and a circus drag festival. In Manila, this year’s Pride celebration will have an art exhibit and a Pride picnic, to name a few. Come on, LGBTQ+ folks know how to throw an amazing party!
Why is it important?
To this day, countless LGBTQ+ individuals are still subjected to harassment and abuse. In fact, there are countries with existing laws that criminalize being gay, and a more progressive shift is needed. Pride Month recognizes that regardless of your gender or sexual identity, you should never be condemned for living your truth.
If you’re attending a Pride march to spread hate and be disrespectful, you shouldn’t be anywhere near LGBTQ+ events or other gatherings. But if you’re there to show support and love to the community, feel free to stay and have fun! Not everyone’s close-minded, and you might be even surprised to know that some of the best LGBTQ+ allies aren’t queer.
Why is there no “straight pride” month?
Several months ago, a gay couple in Radcliffe was attacked by a group of men for holding hands while in public. In 2016, a 29-year-old man suddenly shot people inside a gay nightclub, leaving over 40 casualties and 53 more wounded. Recently, transgender women were killed in Pakistan.
Heterosexual folks don’t experience the kind of hate and violence the LGBTQ+ community has been grappling with for a long time now. There’s no straight pride because there’s no need for one.
Every day is Pride
While Pride Month is celebrated in June, it doesn’t mean the fight for equality is limited to that month. There are organizations where you can volunteer or online references to check out that discuss important LGBTQ+ issues so you can further the cause throughout the year.
What other facts about Pride Month should we include next? Comment them down below!