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When Did Pride Month Become a Thing

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June is a month that bursts with colour as millions around the world participate in festivities celebrating Pride Month. This global phenomenon represents more than just a party; it’s a symbolic tapestry of progress, love, and acceptance. But when did Pride Month blossom into the major event that we recognise today? To understand its origins, we must travel back several decades.

The Stonewall uprising

The roots of Pride Month can be traced back to the late 1960s in the US. During this era, the gay community faced rampant discrimination and harassment. A pivotal moment occurred on 28 June 1969, when police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. The LGBTQ+ community, fed up with constant mistreatment, fought back. This incident, known as the Stonewall Uprising, is often cited as the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement.

The first marches

In the aftermath of the Stonewall Uprising, there was a newfound sense of unity and determination among the LGBTQ+ community. The following year, on 28 June 1970, the first Pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. These marches were initially known as Christopher Street Liberation Day, commemorating the street on which the Stonewall Inn is located. These events aimed to foster a sense of community and to advocate for equal rights and an end to discrimination.

A growing movement

In the 1970s and 1980s, Pride events spread to other cities and countries, with activists advocating for recognition and acceptance. The AIDS epidemic of the 1980s added another layer of urgency to these events, as the LGBTQ+ community fought against not only discrimination but a devastating health crisis. Pride parades began to grow in size and visibility, demanding attention and action.

The establishment of Pride Month

As Pride events proliferated, the significance of June as a month to celebrate LGBTQ+ history and culture began to crystallise. In 1999, President Bill Clinton issued a proclamation marking June as “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month”. This proclamation acknowledged the impact that lesbian and gay individuals have had on American history. However, it wasn’t until 2009 that President Barack Obama expanded this recognition to include the broader LGBTQ+ community by proclaiming June as “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month”.

Global recognition

While Pride Month has its roots in the United States, the concept has been embraced by numerous countries around the world. Pride parades and events are now held globally, and while they may not all occur in June, the spirit of celebrating diversity and advocating for equal rights is universal.

Corporate participation and commercialisation

In recent years, Pride Month has seen an influx of corporate involvement. Many companies change their logos to rainbow colors, release Pride-themed merchandise, and participate in parades. This has been both praised for raising awareness and criticized for commodifying a movement with deep historical and social roots.

The present and the future

Today, Pride Month is a vibrant tapestry of events that includes parades, workshops, concerts, and more. The rainbow flag, created by artist Gilbert Baker in 1978, has become a ubiquitous symbol of Pride, embodying the diversity and unity of the LGBTQ+ community. Social media and virtual platforms have further globalized Pride, enabling remote participation and international solidarity.

As we celebrate Pride Month, it is vital to remember its origins and the continued fight for equality. From the brave individuals at Stonewall to the activists marching worldwide today, Pride Month is a testament to the resilience and spirit of the LGBTQ+ community.

Takeaway

Pride Month, which originated from the ashes of the Stonewall Uprising, has evolved into a global movement celebrating diversity, love, and acceptance. As we don the vibrant colors of the rainbow, it is imperative to reflect on the struggles and sacrifices that have paved the way for the freedoms enjoyed today. It is also a call to action for the ongoing battles against discrimination and inequality. In an ever-evolving world, Pride Month stands as a reminder that love and unity are forces that can transcend boundaries and bring about meaningful change.


Adam Mulligan, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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