The LGTBQ+ Pride Month is a festival that marks the colorful celebration of love & self-love, choices & rights, self-acceptance, and embracing the beauty of every form of love. Pride parades, marches, parties, concerts, and symposiums are held across various nations around the World. But have you wondered what is the story behind Pride Month?
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Well, let’s learn about what events led to the celebration of the LGTBQ+ Pride Month and why it is celebrated.
The JUNE PRIDE MONTH is celebrated to recall and honor the Stonewall Inn Riots which occurred on 28th June 1969 (Saturday) in Manhattan. Before we get into the depth of the story, let’s know some of the rules and regulations that were prevalent from the late 1940s to early 1960s against the LGTBQ+ community in the United States.
Some of the rules and regulations that are relevant to this raid are:
- Serving alcohol to a gay person was illegal until 1966.
- Until 1969 homosexuality was considered an illegal offense. However even until 1969, only some states legalized gay people.
- It was illegal to wear less than three items of “gender-inappropriate” clothing. Cross-dressers were the most visible law-breakers.
The day marks the six-day-long protest between the LGTBQ+ community and the police officers. Stonewall Inn was owned by a mafia, and during those years the mafias (who owned gay bars) used to pay bribes to the police officers to keep them away from raiding the bars. (Gay bars were one of the most profitable businesses of the mafia and the bribes were paid to ensure that the clientele did not decrease.) However, this did not stop the police officers from raiding the bars.
28TH JUNE 1969, STONEWALL INN
On 28th June 1969 around 1:30am a team of 9 police officers raided the Stonewall Inn justifying the raid with a search warrant to investigate the illegal sale of alcohol. Such types of raids were routine for bars like Stonewall Inn, but this time the events did not unfold according to the plans of the police officers.
Outside the crowds started to gather and they became aggressive, and hence the police thought it was better to get locked inside the bar. While locked inside the interrogations with the employees and patrons continued. The cross-dressers were detained and arrested, even though a few of them managed to escape. The raid and the crowd dispersal got over around 4am on 28th June. But this event was far from over.
The news of the Stonewall Inn raid spread like a fire, and by that evening (28th June 1969) a large number of protestors had gathered around the Stonewall Inn and the surrounding areas and neighborhoods. The protests had continued for a week with another outbreak of intense fighting on the following Wednesday (2nd July 1969).
The first PRIDE PARADE & MARCH was held on 28th June 1970 on the first anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riot incident. The parade was held with the intent of giving the community a chance to get together and recall and honor the Stonewall riots and to demonstrate against the centuries of abuse in each and every aspect of life, even the “basic needs” aspects of life.
In the year 1978, Gilbert Baker, an American artist, gay activist, and a US Army Veteran created the LGBTQ+ community flag, on the suggestions of his friends and colleagues. Each color used in a flag has a different meaning :
- RED for Life
- ORANGE for healing
- YELLOW for sunlight
- GREEN for nature
- BLUE for harmony
- VIOLET for spirit
- HOT PINK for sex
- TURQUOISE for magic/art
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From a few thousand marchers in the inaugural parade of 1970 to millions of marchers from all over the world presently, they gather together every year in June to parade with pride and demonstrate equal rights and treatment to the LGBTQ+ community. Memorials are also held to remember the members of the LGBTQ+ community who have lost their lives due to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.
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The Stonewall Inn was declared as a National Monument by Barack Obama, and it was the first national monument to celebrate gay history.