Pride Month was initially celebrated to commemorate the Stonewall riots, the event largely regarded as a catalyst for the LGBTQ movement for civil rights in the United States. The riots inspired the LGBTQ community throughout the country to organize in support of gay rights, and within two years after the riots, gay rights groups had been started in nearly every major city in the United States.
In the early hours of June 28, 1969, a group of customers at a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village called the Stonewall Inn, who had grown angry at the harassment by police, took a stand and a riot broke out. As word spread throughout the city about the demonstration, the customers of the inn were soon joined by other gay men and women who started throwing objects at the policemen, shouting "gay power."
Police reinforcements arrived and beat the crowd away, but the next night, the crowd returned, even larger than the night before, with numbers reaching over 1000. For hours, protesters rioted outside the Stonewall Inn until the police sent a riot-control squad to disperse the crowd. For days following, demonstrations of varying intensity took place throughout the city.
A SYMBOL OF PRIDE
Gilbert Baker created the Rainbow Flag, symbol of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender movement in June 1978. The Rainbow Flag is an international phenomenon, with millions of people everywhere embracing it as a visibility action. In 2015, the Museum of Modern Art ranked the rainbow flag as an internationally recognized symbol as important as the recycling symbol.
Gilbert Baker passed away on March 31st of this year. He will be honored at many pride marches across the country, as well as at memorials in New York and San Francisco on Flag Day, June 14th.
Click here to view a timeline of LGBTQ rights, milestones and facts.
The timeline lists many highlights, including the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in favor of Marriage Equality. The ruling is a victory for equal rights, but there are still many hurdles to overcome.
This list also shows a snapshot of the violence and discrimination that those in the LGBTQ community have faced. Events like the beating and torture of student Matthew Shephard that eventually led to his death in October of 1998.
Dozens of laws and rulings are highlighted in the timeline that show the systematic oppression of the LGBTQ community throughout the decades. These laws include: Don't Ask Don't Tell, bans on marriage, and the criminalization of homosexuality itself.
BECOME AN ALLY
Learn more about how to be an ALLY during PRIDE Month (and all the time!)
USA Today Article on Becoming an Ally