The origins of Pride Month are rooted in the Stonewall riots of 1969.
The Stonewall Riots weren’t the first time that LGBTQ+ people stood up against police harassment, before Stonewall, there was a riot in Los Angeles at Cooper Do-Nuts, and in San Francisco at Compton’s Cafeteria. But Stonewall is the best-known and led to the creation of what we know as Pride today.
Frustrated by years of brutal persecution by the New York authorities, patrons of Manhattan gay bar the Stonewall Inn decided to fight back during one particular early morning raid in which 13 people were arrested. The Stonewall Riots also called the Stonewall Uprising, began in the early hours of June 28, 1969, and catalyzed the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.
That first Pride parade was held a year later after the Stonewall Riots on June 28, 1970, in NYC. The parade began on Washington Place between Sheridan Square and Sixth Avenue and moved up Sixth Avenue, ending with a “Gay-In” in Central Park.
In 1978, perhaps the most recognized symbol of Gay Pride made its debut at the San Francisco event: the rainbow flag. The flag was designed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker and has been adopted worldwide. According to Baker`s website, the colours of the LGBT flag each have a meaning: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for harmony, and violet for spirit.
By the 1980s—particularly after the spread of AIDS—political and social activism had become central to Pride events, many of the marchers carried placards that focused on the social issues of the day.
We’ve come a long way from the police brutality and stigmatization of the 1970s. We’ve also made it through the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s. The parades have long been the voice and coming together of the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate our lives.
The Pride movement continues to fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the twenty-first century. One example is in Serbia where Serbian LGBTQ+ activists successfully held a 2014 Pride march in Belgrade, which came after a long campaign for state support and protection.
2021 International Gay Pride Events LINK
2021 Europe Gay Pride Events LINK
2021 WorldPride in Copenhagen LINK