What is Pride Month?
Over the last 5 decades, June has become popularly known as Pride month to celebrate and bring awareness to the LGBTQ+ community. Pride celebrations are usually held in the form of colorful and lively festivities, including parades and live music. Pride offers a chance to not only reflect on how much has been accomplished by the Gay Rights Movement but bring attention to the work that still needs to be done for liberation of the global LGBTQ+ community.
Pride is celebrated in June to coincide with the catalyst of the Gay Liberation Movement that was the Stonewall Uprising. In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided a popular gay bar in N.Y.C.’s West Village, The Stonewall Inn. This was commonplace for the time, but on this particular evening, the patrons of the bar fought back, starting the Stonewall Riots, which went on for days.
The Stonewall Inn was declared a historic landmark by the city of New York in 2015 and later named a national monument by President Barack Obama in 2016.
This June is the 50th anniversary of the first Pride parade, which happened in 1970, one year after the uprising. Also, on June 15 in a landmark case, the Supreme Court rules LGBTQ workers are protected from job discrimination! The decision said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate because of a person’s sex, also covers sexual orientation and transgender status.
Even if you don’t identify as LGBTQ+, consider participating in this year’s festivities as a welcomed ally! It is not too late, and you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your couch as many Pride celebrations have moved to a virtual platform due to the realities of 2020. A couple of options include the Twin Cities Pride Virtual Festival and the Global Pride Celebration.
Stonewall Uprising Documentary
PBS created a documentary that dives deeper into the history of the Stonewall Uprising.
Stonewall Uprising begins with a general overview of societal attitudes toward homosexuality in 1960s America. Archival footage from locally produced television programs, public service films warning of the “dangers” of homosexuality and “CBS Reports: The Homosexuals”, and interviews with Stonewall participants and observers. The film also touches on pre-Stonewall activism, including the Annual Reminder pickets held in Philadelphia.
The film then shifts to the days immediately preceding the riot and the specific conditions in New York City, including a raid on the Stonewall Inn that had happened days before the raid that triggered the riot, to explain why conditions were ripe for some action to happen. Archive film from the riots, dramatic re-enactments and eyewitness testimony are presented, along with animation of the streets surrounding the Stonewall Inn.
It concludes with an examination of the aftermath of the rioting, including the energizing of the gay community as a political force and the establishment of Christopher Street Liberation Day, the genesis of gay pride parades in the United States.
How will you honor Pride this year?