A brief history of Pride Month


Each June, the public comes together to celebrate Pride Month, a time to recognize the contributions of people who identify as LGBTQ+ and shed light on the issues facing these communities.

Pride Month celebrations can take many forms, including parties, parades, proms and even protests. Pride events have taken place in some shape or form since the LGBTQ+ liberation movement of the 1970s. Modern-day Pride celebrations can be traced back to New York City and an event called the Stonewall uprising.

In the mid-1960s, the Stonewall Inn was a popular gay bar, one of the few establishments that welcomed drag queens and allowed dancing. Homeless gay runaways often took refuge there at night. Police raids frequently took place at gay establishments during this time period.

On June 28, 1969, the police arrived at Stonewall, reportedly assaulted customers and arrested 13 employees and patrons who were in violation of liquor laws. They also took into custody individuals who weren’t conforming to a New York statute requiring gender-appropriate clothing to be worn in public. Although the raid was a shock, the club’s patrons started to fight back.

The Stonewall rebellion gave rise to protests elsewhere and became a unifying incident upon which equality-based advocacy for LGBTQ+ groups was built. For so long, certain people lived in the closet and hid their real identities. Pride Month emerged as a way to achieve equal justice and opportunity for LGBTQ+ individuals and recognize their many contributions to society.

Although there were previous uprisings to Stonewall, as well as various Pride parades around the country, President Bill Clinton officially declared June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month in 2000. President Barack Obama expanded the observance in 2011 to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. Informally, June is referred to simply as Pride Month.


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