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HAPPY PRIDE MONTH - A SHORT HISTORY OF PRIDE

 

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in America in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan and work to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) Americans. 

Before the Stonewall riots, LGBTQ individuals had generally not broadcast their sexual orientation or identity.  In 1969, the Stonewall Inn was one of the most popular gay bars in New York City.  Throughout the state, it was illegal to serve alcohol to a gay person until 1966, and in 1969, homosexuality was still considered a criminal offense. This led many gay establishments to operate sans liquor licenses, providing an open door for raids and police brutality. The Stonewall Inn was owned by the mafia, and as long as they continued to make a profit, they cared very little about what happened to their clientele. The police raids on gay bars and spaces were not isolated to the East and West coasts but were a phenomenon happening across the U.S. during this time.

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 across the nation, the "day" soon grew to encompass a month-long series of events. Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia, and concerts, and LGBTQ Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.

The terms we use today to describe a range of sexualities and gender identities – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer – are mostly quite recent inventions. For the most part, we simply don’t know how people in the past would have described their sexuality or gender. We use the acronym LGBTQ+ because we believe it comes closest to capturing the breadth of experiences and identities for those whose sexualities didn’t fit within societal norms.

The non-specific word ‘queer’ can also be useful when talking about sexuality and gender in history. We know that for some it has negative associations – historically it has been used derisively as well as for self-identification. However, the Oxford English Dictionary reports that from the late 1980s, ‘queer’ started to be reclaimed as a neutral or positive term. It is now used to capture the complexity and fluidity of sexuality and gender, with the intention of including all experiences and identities rather than defining and limiting them. It is in that spirit of inclusivity that we use the term ‘queer’.


TO HELP WITH EQUITY FOR ALL HUMANS - GET INVOLVED:


Human Rights Campaign

The National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund

The Trevor Project


Articles used:

 The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. (2009, June 2). Gay pride. Encyclop√¶dia Britannica. Retrieved June 8, 2022, from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Gay-Pride

About  :  Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Queer Pride month  :  library of Congress. The Library of Congress. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2022, from https://www.loc.gov/lgbt-pride-month/about/

Baume, M. (2020, June 25). What is Pride Month and the history of pride? them. Retrieved June 8, 2022, from https://www.them.us/story/the-complete-history-of-pride

LGBTQ+ history. English Heritage. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2022, from https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/learn/histories/lgbtq-history/

Today in history - june 28. The Library of Congress. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2022, from https://www.loc.gov/item/today-in-history/june-28/ 


Blessings,

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