The Origins Of Pride Month: What You Should Know
As Pride month comes to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on what Pride means to us and what we’ve done this month to partake in Pride and all its festivities. We’ve come a long way since the first Pride march 44 years ago. It’s amazing to think about what the first activists would have gone through to get even just an ounce of the respect and support that we have now. But we can always do more and stand up for more acceptance year after year.
The Stonewall Riots
To get a true perspective on how monumental pride month really is, let’s take a look at its history. New York City is considered the birthplace of Pride, this is mainly because of the Stonewall Riots which took place right in Greenwich Village. The Stonewall Riots were a series of spontaneous and violent protests held at the Stonewall Inn on the morning of June 28, 1969. These riots were considered to be the single most important event that precipitated the LGBT pride movement and gay liberation across the U.S. They lasted 3 days and some people even gave up their lives for it.
The term “gay pride”
The term “gay pride” wasn’t coined until 1970, when a committee was formed after the Stonewall riots to commemorate it. They ran into a problem, the committee didn’t have a name to put their events under. “Gay power” was suggested, but one member noted that it didn’t feel like they had power, at least not yet. Someone else suggested “gay pride,” and from that day forward, it was writ!
The first rainbow flag
The first rainbow pride flag was made in 1978, 8 years after the riots. Before the rainbow flag, the LGBT community was represented by a pink triangle. Artist, Gilbert Baker created the first rainbow flag to be sued during one of Harvey Milk’s protests. The rainbow pride flag isn’t just a pretty rainbow flag, each color has a meaning: hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony and violet for spirit.
Since the Stonewall watershed moment, Pride has gone on to transform and change in incredible ways. When it began, Pride mostly meant political demonstrations and protests, organized events that demanded equal rights and protection for LGBT people. But now, Pride has evolved into an event that people from all walks of life can participate in. Parades began popping up everywhere in New York including parades by PFLAG and ACT UP during the AIDS epidemic. As Pride continued to change and evolve and as liberation continued to grow, we get the Pride we have today which is one that is inclusive of all races, genders, sexualities and lifestyles. Enjoying the parades and performances that go along with pride is all part of the experience and is in truth a celebration of the protesters and activists who started in all at Stonewall.