Pride Month: June 2023
Pride Month: June 2023
“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month is celebrated each year in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan.
The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. In the United States, the last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as ‘Gay Pride Day,’ but the actual day was flexible.
In major cities nationwide, the ‘day’ soon became a month-long series of events.
What Was the Riot at Stonewall Inn?
In the early morning of June 28, police raided this popular gathering place for young members of the LGBTQIA+ community—arresting the employees for selling liquor without a license, roughing up the patrons, and clearing the bar.
Outside, the crowd that watched the bar’s patrons herded into police vans became enraged.
Previously witnesses to police harassment of members of the LGBTQIA+ community had stood by passively. Still, this time the crowd jeered the police and threw coins and then bottles and debris at them, forcing the police to barricade themselves in the bar to await backup.
Before long, over 400 people were rioting. Although police reinforcements dispersed the crowd, riots waxed and waned outside the bar for the next five days, and these Stonewall riots (also called the Stonewall Uprising) supplied the spark that ignited the LGBTQIA+ rights movement in the United States.
For the four years before the Stonewall riots, activists in Philadelphia had staged protests outside Independence Hall on July 4 as “Annual Reminders” that gays and lesbians were denied basic rights of citizenship.
But these events had been carefully constrained picket demonstrations in which men had to wear business-appropriate clothing, women were called upon to don skirts and blouses, and public displays of affection were forbidden.
At the Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations in Philadelphia on November 2, 1969, the idea of a march in response to the Stonewall events was proposed.
Scheduled for June 28, 1970, the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the procession was named the Christopher Street Liberation Day march after the street that was the epicenter of New York City’s LGBTQIA+ community and where the procession would begin.
The History of Pride Month
History of LGBTQIA+ Pride Month and why Pride Month is in June. (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Stonewall, Obergefell v. Hodges, United States v. Windsor).
Although “gay power” had been proposed as the slogan for the march, it was argued that the movement had yet to be politically empowered but that its members felt great pride in their sexual orientation.
Thus, it was decided that the march’s theme would be “gay pride.” Sources differ as to the exact number of people who participated in the march—estimates ranged from 1,000 to 20,000—but no one disputes that at the start, there were at most a few hundred marchers.
However, by the time the march ended, 51 blocks north in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow, its numbers had swelled dramatically as individuals joined the procession in solidarity, chanting such slogans as “Say it clear, say it loud. Gay is good; gay is proud.”
The day before the pride march in New York City, 150+ people in Chicago had capped off a weeklong event with the country’s first march commemorating Stonewall.
On the day of the New York march, “the world’s first permitted parade advocating for gay rights” was staged on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, and a “Gay In” was held in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
Thereafter, Gay Pride, or LGBTQIA+ Pride, came to be celebrated in the United States on the last Sunday in June (though there were many exceptions) as somber marches evolved into joyous celebrations. In time, the day expanded to become a monthlong event.
It was officially recognized by the U.S. government when President Bill Clinton declared June 1999 “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month,” President Barack Obama proclaimed June to be “LGBT Pride Month,” and President Joe Biden further expanded the observance to “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQIA+) Pride Month.”
Elsewhere in the world, Pride is celebrated at different times of the year, although many cities observe it in June.
Why Is Pride Month Celebrated in June?
Colorful, uplifting parades with floats and celebrities, joyous festivals, workshops, picnics, and parties are among the principal components of LGBTQIA+ Pride Month, also called Gay Pride, celebrated in June in the United States and elsewhere worldwide.
Pride Month commemorates years of struggle for civil rights and the ongoing pursuit of equal justice under the law for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities, as well as the accomplishments of LGBTQIA+ individuals. But why is Pride Month celebrated in June?
The organized pursuit of LGBTQIA+ rights in the United States reaches back to at least 1924 and the founding of the Society of Human Rights in Chicago by Henry Gerber.
But the event catalyzed the LGBTQIA+ rights movement in June 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village.
Three Ways to Support the LGBTQIA+ Community During Pride Month
Educate yourself about the LGBTQIA+ movement. Knowledge is power. To be an ally and supporter of the gay community, it’s important to understand the history of the LGBTQIA+ movement. It stretches back further than may suspect. You can read books for Pride Month, including romance novels and autobiographies from LGBTQIA+.
Using Pronouns. Understanding the importance of identity, especially about pronouns, is vital. Using proper pronouns and gender identity terms is easy to let someone know you respect them.
Learn about Rainbow Railroad’s efforts. Rainbow Railroad helps gay, lesbian, and transgender people escape attacks, kidnappings, and murder in places like Chechnya, Afghanistan, and Uganda. The organization helps rescue people facing “persecution based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.