“Pride Baby” Comes Out Kickin’ & Screamin’!
Pride Month was born out of the Stonewall Riots, one of the most notable and well-known LGBTQ activist events.
Being openly gay was largely prohibited in most spaces in the 1960s. In particular, New York had a rule that the simple presence of someone gay or genderqueer (falling outside of or in between or fluctuating among the binary gender categories of man and woman) counted as disorderly conduct–effectively outlawing gay bars.
On June 28, 1969, patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a popular bar with a diverse LGBTQ clientele, stood their ground after law enforcement raided the establishment. The resulting conflict led to days of riots and protests, which became known as the Stonewall Uprising.
A year later, on the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, thousands of people took to the streets of Manhattan in the Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day March, recognized as the first gay pride event ever. However, not all members of the LGBTQ community were included. Despite their pivotal role in the riots and ensuing activism, trans women and other women of color were excluded from or silenced while attending some early Pride parades.
Initially, Pride Month began as Gay Pride Day, observed annually on the last Sunday in June. As awareness grew, the commemoration evolved into the month-long observance, aptly named Pride Month, with even more events and activities. Then, in 1999, President Bill Clinton officially declared June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, designating the month as a time to support the LGBTQ community– and honor its achievements.
Each year, the largest Pride parade in the U.S. occurs in New York City, with millions attending. The other biggest parades across the country include Boston, Chicago, D.C., Houston, and San Francisco. Internationally, Pride parades in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and Madrid, Spain each also draw millions of participants.
According to Stanton, “Other activists have objected to the modern “corporatization” of Pride, including rainbow capitalism/rainbow-washing, or the practice of companies commodifying LGBTQ culture and Pride Month as a marketing ploy to drive consumer interest and purchases. Particular complaints have been raised against companies who celebrate Pride with themed merchandise or marketing while donating thousands of dollars to political action committees supporting politicians who voted against The Equality Act.”
Stanton adds, “This year, Pride events should look like the trademark celebrations of the recent past after two years of hiatus caused by COVID-19. But the pandemic has also exposed many inequalities and disparities in the LGBTQ community, leading to an overhaul in the festivities to make them more accessible and cognizant of race, income, and more.”