16 Jun Happy Pride Month!
Happy Pride Month! Pride month is a celebration, additionally, it symbolizes the liberation for the LGBTQ+ community. This month commemorates the Stonewall Rebellion, also known as the Stone Wall Riots. Pride month symbolizes the anniversary of what occurred at Stonewall and the monumental movement that followed.
Prior to Stonewall
In the 1950’s and 60’s homosexuality was illegal in almost every state in the U.S., with legal penalties ranging from three months in jail in New York to possible life in prison in Nevada. Homosexuality was classified as a mental illness by the psychiatric profession. In New York, LGBTQ people could be denied service in bars or arrested for wearing clothing that did not match their legally-assigned gender.
The Turning Point
The weekend of June 27th-29th, 1969 was a turning point for LGBTQ+ liberation. The events at the Stonewall Inn in New York revolutionized the movement. The Stonewall Inn was one in addition to the few homosexual bars. The mafia ran all of these bars and they were often raided by police who arrested its patrons.
However, the Stonewall Riot would mark the time that the LGBTQ+ community would fight back against the police. At 1:28 AM on June 28th the police arrived at Stonewall on the grounds of an illegal alcohol sale. Police arrived and unlike previous raids where patrons would linger off into the darkness, these patrons stayed. A crowd began to form and became enraged at the treatment of the patrons. They began to throw various items at the police. The police retreated inside as the crowd that grew to several hundred people became violent. The riots recurred for the next few nights.
*It is important to note that there have been numerous disagreements over details of this event.*
After Stonewall, it paved the way for members of the LGBTQ+ to begin to demand better treatment. They initiated organizations such as the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) These organizations launched numerous public demonstrations protesting the lack of civil rights. Moreover, they resorted to public confrontations with political officials and the disruption of public meetings to challenge and to change the morals of the times. Stonewall was the match that ignited the change.
In late June 1970, to commemorate the Stonewall riots, gay liberation groups marched in New York and elsewhere, initiating the first gay pride weeks and annual marches. The United States initially celebrated ” Gay Pride Day” the last Sunday in June but the actual day was flexible. Major cities across the nation the “day” soon grew to encompass a month-long series of events.
This month is a time of celebration! But remember the importance of what you are celebrating and the history behind it and celebrate a Happy Pride Month!