Understanding Pride Month: Stonewall riots and emergence of LGBTQ+ rights movement

What is Pride Month and why is it celebrated? Find out here

LGBTQ pride People take part in the annual LGBTQ+ Pride parade in Bangkok, Thailand | Reuters

June marks the annual celebration of Pride month, a time to commemorate the spectrum of identities, history, and achievements, of the LGBTQ+ community comprising gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and other marginalised communities with the rainbow as their symbol representing the panoply of identities. 

Under the umbrella of LGBTQ+, there exists a vast array of individuals with unique stories and perspectives. Despite the vibrant parades and colourful flags, Pride Month is an exemplary time to celebrate a community which is frequently marginalized in society and their ongoing fight for equality. 

What is Pride Month and why is it celebrated? Let's delve deeper into the history, significance, and relevance of Pride Month.

The pivotal event responsible for the origin of Pride Month and the explicit celebration of the LGBTQ+ community traces back to the Stonewall riots in United States. On June 28, 1969, a chain of spontaneous, violent outrage took place against the police by the members of the gay community owing to the raid of Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of New York City. The outburst was a result of the deep-rooted hatred and brutality that the gay community were subjected to by the police for ages. The pioneers of this event were Storme Delarverie, Sylvia Rivera (known as the mother of all gay people), and Marsha P. Johnson (known as the Mayor of Greenwich Village), but a large community of marginalised people including drag queens and trans women also actively took part in the riot. 

The event ignited the sparks of resistance in various parts of the country and a year later the first Pride marches were held in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco demanding equal rights for LGBTQ+ people. Stonewall Riot is considered the single most prominent event that paved the way for the gay liberation movement and the modern-day battle for gay and lesbian rights not only in the United States but across the globe. 

Over the decades, pride celebrations have evolved. The members and allies of the community flamboyantly and vibrantly presenting themselves in the parades on the streets has been a hallmark in the celebration of pride month. The celebrations are now global happening all through June, though it is not confined to a time of the year, being an ally and supporting LGBTQ+ rights goes beyond June, spreading awareness, advocating change, and fostering a sense of belonging within the LGBTQ+ community.  

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