-Gaayathri, II Visual Arts
-Sharu, I B.A. Sociology
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June is celebrated as the international pride month; a celebration of the identity and culture of the LGBTQ+ community. The Pride Parade takes place annually, all over the world, in order to commemorate the Stonewall riots. These riots were a series of violent demonstrations by the LGBTQ+ community against a police raid in 1969 at Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. This is seen as the most important event for gay liberation movements and the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.
The very first Pride Parade took place on 28 June 1970, in Chicago.Initially, Pride marches were called Gay Liberation marches or Gay Freedom marches. A bisexual woman and a member of Gay Liberation Front, Brenda Howard was the one responsible for co-ordinating them. For this reason, she is known as the ‘Mother of Pride’. She was also the one who had the idea to organise a week-long celebration of Pride, which is the reason for the month-long celebrations and events taking place in June every year.
At the time that these marches began, the word ‘gay’ was used to represent not only gay men but the members of what is now called the LGBTQ+ community.
Gay communities around the country immediately regarded the Stonewall riots as an event that could bring everyone together towards one common goal. Just one year later, in 1970, a committee was formed to commemorate the riots. The committee wanted to honour LGBTQ+ rights. “People did not have power then; even now, we only have some,” Schoonmaker, an American film editor said in a 2015 interview with The Allusionist’s Helen Zaltzman. “Anyone can have pride in themselves, and that would make them happier as people, and produce the movement likely to produce change.”
According to Marc Stein, Professor of History at San Francisco State University, gay pride marches and other gay pride events were first held in the spring and summer of 1970. On 28 June 1970, the first Gay Pride March was organized by the Christopher Street Liberation Committee to commemorate the riots.
The LGBTQ+ community is still not given complete freedom to this day. As we look upon history, there have indeed been a few changes. However, we still have not reached where we need to. There are still issues the public is not ready to discuss, but we are on the foothold of achieving equality for all. Ever since the incident at Stonewall Inn, New York celebrates pride festivities and partakes in the merriment. The LGBTQ+ community now has less restraints and in some states can live peacefully and have the same rights as straight people, but there certainly is still a long way to go.