The History of Pride
Spanish philosopher George Santayana is credited as saying “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” As we are well into the month of June, which is annually used as a month to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, current news articles and political debates in the country seem to feel like we are repeating parts of history. Therefore, it is important we learn the history of the LGBTQ+ community and how this history shaped the community today.
When thinking of LGBTQ+ community events, it is hard to not discuss the various LGBTQ+ “Prides” throughout the country. Though the various prides have many aspects including pride parties, community resources, and family friendly activities; most people do not know that the history of pride has less joyous origins. The first official organized pride march was held on June 28th, 1970 in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The date itself is not random, this date in particular was the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Why is Stonewall significant you ask? Well, the Stonewall Inn was a popular gay bar in New York City. This is significant because in New York, it was still illegal to be a homosexual at the time. Therefore, there were often police raids of the Stonewall Inn in attempts to crack down on homosexuality.
As you can imagine, this was not the first police attempt to crack down on gay bars, however, after the NYPD’s attempt to serve a search warrant, thousands of protestors gathered outside of Stonewall. The protests against the police actions continued for days with more violence occurring the following Wednesday outside of the bar. Now known as “The Stonewall Riots” or the “Stonewall Uprising” by many, the events of 1969 are now generally referred to as the beginning of the LGBTQ+ liberation movement. Therefore, it is important we remember our past as we move throughout the month of pride this year to honor those who fought for the rights that allow people to be who they are.