LGBT Pride Month History

todayJune 16, 2017 87

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By Jenise Jackson
Blog Content Contributor 

From 2009 through 2016, Barack Obama declared June to be LGBT Pride Month. Unfortunately, the LGBT community has been snubbed of that official declaration, but that has not stopped members of the community and their allies from kicking off the month of June with the traditional celebration. To honor LGBT Pride Month in my own little way, I thought I would list some things people may not know about Pride and create a timeline that highlights a few key events that have impacted the LGBT community.

Pride Month is celebrated in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots.

Back in 1969, it was considered illegal for LGBT people to gather in public places. In Manhattan, New York, there was a LGBT bar known as the Stonewall Inn. The police were aware of Stonewall and would frequently raid the bar with violent force. On June 29 of that year, Stonewall’s patrons had finally had enough and decided to fight back. Those three days of rioting would be the beginning of the Gay Liberation Movement.

Pride parades were inspired by the first Gay Liberation March that was held in New York City.

On the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in 1970, the LGBT community of New York City gathered to honor the groundbreaking event by marching 51 blocks. This assembly would become the first LGBT Pride March in US history. The march was an overall success and the march’s coordinator Brenda Howard, who is also known as the “Mother of Pride”, was motivated to create week-long events surrounded around Pride. Her work would become the origin for LGBT Pride celebrations that are now held around the world each June.

LGBT persons of color played an important role in Pride’s genesis.

People like Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson and other colored LGBT individuals are principal when it comes to discussing the early LGBT movement. Many of these outspoken voices attempted to raise support and awareness for LGBT concerns such as rights for transgender people and gay inmates. These individual’s willingness to be open and honest about their own lifestyle while fighting for the equality of others lead some to be abused and even killed. Many of these important figures have since been forgotten for their great impact, which has lead the LGBT movement to be accused of being “whitewashed”.

The Pride Flag has special meaning. 

Each color on the rainbow flag symbolizes a specific meaning.

Red = Life
Orange = Healing
Yellow = Sunlight
Green = Nature
Indigo = Harmony
Violet = Spirit

I hope these important milestones speak volumes to everyone, and not just the LGBTQ+ community. Society has come far in both acceptance and progression, but there is still much more room for improvement. Keep your hearts and mind open. Happy Pride Month!

Featured illustration by Emily Castillo

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