A Brief History Of Gay Pride
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

A Brief History Of Gay Pride

How June became Pride Month.

1998
A Brief History Of Gay Pride
New York Magazine

If you shake a bottle of soda, and then proceed to unscrew the cap, it will explode. Shake something enough—dehumanize and prosecute something enough, and boom.

Take a look at the timeline that the LGBT community was dealing with in the 1950s. In 1950, the “lavender scare,” the purging of gay men and women from government jobs and military positions, occurs.

In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower brings Executive Order 10450 to fruition. This declares that gay men and women are not allowed to work for the federal government.

In 1952, homosexuality is declared a “sociopathic personality disturbance” by the American Psychiatric Association. Homosexual sexual activity is banned under anti-sodomy laws. Gay and lesbian bars are constantly raided by police due to homosexual gathering and activity. Some bars are even prohibited to serve gay men and women on account of the New York Liquor Authority declaring homosexuality as “disorderly.”

Put yourself in their shoes. Your very existence is criminalized. You have friends in prison simply because they wanted to go out for a drink. You might not even be able to get a drink, depending on where you go. You hear of the Daughters of Bilitis in San Francisco, the country’s first lesbian rights organization, which provides a safe haven to go to instead of the clubs and bars which are so frequently raided.

This should make you happy or proud, but it just makes you angry. Why should you even need a safe haven? Shouldn’t you be granted the same right to go out and be yourself with your friends as anyone else? Should your rights and safety be compromised simply because of who you’re romantically involved with? A movement was brewing across the country as people began to fight against the oppressive systems that held them down.

On June 28, 1969, things came to a head at The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village in New York City. Most police raids on bars went peacefully. Usually, a few employees or the manager would be arrested, the bar would close for the night, and then open back up the next night or even hours after the raid. But this raid did not go as planned. This time, the 200 patrons inside Stonewall that night refused to cooperate.

Police intended to arrest everyone in the club that night because of their resistance. As they waited for assistance to arrive, a crowd gathered outside the bar, trapping the police inside. Soon, patrol wagons arrived to transport the patrons to prison. However, their rough handling of the situation and people caused protesters outside to react violently.

Marsha P. Johnson, a transgender rights activist and important figure in LGBT history, is famously known as the person “who really started it.” They fought against the police until four o’clock in the morning.

The Stonewall Inn in the late 1960s

However, it didn’t stop there. Night after night, more and more protesters returned to Christopher Street, where Stonewall is located, to protest the mistreatment and discrimination they suffered at the hands of the police. This continued for nearly a week and today, The Stonewall Inn is credited as the place “Where Pride Began.” The Stonewall Riots are considered the fire that ignited the modern gay rights movement.

“Young queen Martin Boyce remembers, ‘When it was over and some of us were sitting exhausted on the stoops, I thought, My God, we’re going to pay so desperately for this, there was glass all over. But the next day we didn’t pay. My father called and congratulated me. He said, ‘What took you so long?’ The next day we were there again. We had had enough…’” - Linda Hirshman, author of "Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution"

In the following years after the riots, the LGBT+ community made incredible strides. In 1970, a march was held in honor of Christopher Street Liberation Day, which celebrated the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Over 2,000 people marched up Sixth Avenue and into Central Park. This inspired many “sister marches” around the country, including one in Los Angeles, and soon all around the country. These marches would soon become known as pride parades.

Christopher Street Liberation Day, 1970

Los Angeles Pride, 2015

It’s important for the LGBT community to preserve the tradition of Pride, as it provides a time for everyone to come together and celebrate who they are. It’s a time where people can be themselves and be with people who support them. It’s a time to remember our history and how far we have come and look forward to all that we have to do. It’s a time to honor those who aren’t marching next to us. It’s a time for fun, joy, freedom and celebration. But, more than anything, it’s truly a time to be proud. It’s a time where people will encourage you to be your full, beautiful self and make sure you know that you don’t have to hide anything. You are surrounded by people who will support, protect and love you.

This year’s Pride is tinged with sadness as we continue to mourn our brothers, sisters and siblings lost in Orlando. The sidewalk in front of Stonewall is the foundation to a mountain of flowers, candles and posters sporting words such as “Stop the Hate" and "Love You More." We watch gun sales spike and the need to look over our shoulders when we hold each other’s hands become present again - yet Pride is there. Strangers hold hands and embrace each other while visiting the site. We give each other tissues and matches and safe shoulders to lean on. This year, we march in honor of the Orlando victims. We march for our rights. We march for our presence to be known and felt. We march for and with loved ones. Most importantly, we march with pride.

A makeshift memorial to the victims of the Orlando shooting outside of the Stonewall Inn on June 12.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

63039

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

99714
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

363262
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

227577
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

117887
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

304553

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.

186463

Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

126313
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments