June is Pride Month, it is the one month each year where all the LGBTQ communities across the world would come together in order to celebrate the freedom they have to be themselves. Pride gatherings, in general, are deeply rooted within the arduous history of different minorities around the world. The minorities that struggled for years and decades to overcome injustice and prejudice. They celebrate their ability to be finally accepted for who they are. The original organizers of Pride Month chose June as a homage to the Stonewall uprising. It occurred in June of 1969 in NYC. The uprising was one of the reasons behind the sparking of the modern gay rights movement. Therefore, around the world, Pride events mostly take place in June.
Who Celebrates Pride Month?
Pride month is celebrated by everyone who feels that their own sexual identity is not following the mainstream. Of course, pride events are inclusive, and anyone is welcome to join in and celebrate it, regardless of their sexual orientation. LGBTQ is the acronym that refers to Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, and queers. Sometimes, this term or acronym is extended to include asexual and intersex groups, and it becomes LGBTQA. Queer is more of a general term that aims to include all non-straight individuals. As for intersex, it refers to individuals whose gender is not defined clearly.
It is due to their genetic, biological, or hormonal difference. Last but not least, asexual is a term that describes those who do not feel any sexual attraction to any gender or orientation. The term also covers gender-fluid individuals or those whose sexual orientation and gender shift throughout time or change depending on each situation.
How did it all Start?
On the 28th of June in 1969, in the early hours of the day, the police raided a gay bar in NYC called the Stonewall Inn. They started to take customers outside to arrest them. The tension escalated quite quickly as the customers resisted arrest and bystanders started throwing bottles at the police officers. The gay community in New York City, fed up with the harsh years of harassment by the police, broke out in the neighborhood. That caused riots that lasted for 3 days.
This uprising and riots turned out to be the catalyst for the emerging gay rights movement. Plenty of organizations were formed, including the GAA (Gay Activists Alliance) and the Gay Liberation Front. These organizations followed the successful model that other civil rights movements organization used. The organization members participated in protests and met with different political leaders as well as interrupting public meetings to hold the authority accountable for its actions. After one year after the riots mentioned above, the first Gay Pride march took place. But, that is not all; in 2016, the area surrounding the place where it all started, the Stonewall Inn, became a national monument.
The Rainbow Flag’s Origin
Many wonder where the rainbow flag came from and why does it represent the LGBTQ community. It all dates back to 1978. Gilbert Baker, a designer, and an artist, got commissioned by Harvey Milk, the San Francisco supervisor. He was one of the first elected US officials who were openly gay. He commissioned the artist to design a flag for the upcoming Pride event in the city. Baker, who was an activist for gay rights, paid homage to the American flag’s stripes. He then drew his inspiration from the rainbow. It reflects the multitude of groups in the community, resulting in the Rainbow Flag. Subsequently, there are similar flags that represent specific orientations and genders.