With Pride Month is full swing, we look at a short history of Pride in all its glittering, colourful glory.
BY THE ROAM TEAM 6 MIN READ
A series of spontaneous protests by members of the gay community in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn. The riots were a watershed moment for LGBTQ+ rights.
There have been many iconic queer moments. The release of Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way', Moonlight winning Best Picture at the Oscars, the TikTok viral video 'negroni…spagliato…with prosecco in it’. But before Emma D’Arcy took the stage, and before the Queerdle was a thing (Google it, Wordle fans), there was a long and gruelling history that took us to today’s Pride celebrations.
‘Pride’ is the name designated to the annual celebrations of the queer community, and protests for LGBTQ+ rights and international support. Pride is coloured with carnivalesque festivity, sparkling fashion, and passionate protest. In the Western world, we are pretty familiar with the notion of the Pride event, but where did it originate?
The event itself is actually a commemoration of the Stonewall Inn Riots, a series of protests carried out by the LGBTQ+ community which took place in 1969 after the police raided a gay bar in Lower Manhattan. At the time, routine police raids on gay bars weren’t uncommon, but at the Stonewall Inn, the bar’s customers fought back.
A year on from the Stonewall Uprising, the first Pride march took place on 28th June in New York. It was peaceful and there was emphasis on the lack of dress restrictions. People were free to express themselves and celebrate their sexuality without fear. Since then, the peaceful Pride protests have survived and gained huge popularity.
One name that may get forgotten among the history books is Brenda Howard, known as the ‘Mother of Pride’ for her contributions to what went on to become Pride history. She was a polyamorous, bisexual woman and a gay rights activist who was friends with people inside the Stonewall Inn on the night of the police raid. She was behind the rally that commemorated the one-month anniversary of the riots, and part of the committee which arranged the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade and Gay Pride Week.
She was also a fierce advocate for bisexual rights and increased visibility of the bi community. Her work resulted in ‘Bi’ being added to the title of a 1993 March on Washington, which had previously been a march for ‘Lesbian and Gay Equal Rights’ only.
Pride month gives us an opportunity to recognise the impact of LGBTQ+ people on international history, to celebrate queer culture, and to honour the memory of those who have died as result of hate violence or AIDS. It also encourages members of the queer community to come out and celebrate their sexuality. (Lest we forget Lil Nas X’s indifferent coming-out tweet at the end of Pride 2019: ‘some of y’all already know, some of y’all don’t care, some of y’all not gone fwm no more’.)
Pride began as, and continues to be, a protest above all else. It is a recognition of how far we have come, but how much work there is still to do when it comes to recognising and protecting the LGBTQ+ community all over the world.
It’s estimated that there were around 3000-5000 protestors at the initial march in 1970, and now millions gather around the world in support of LGBTQ+ rights. Check out Pride events near you and share in the love and celebration of the community this month, and all year round.