Although the COVID-19 pandemic forced Pride organizations to largely move celebrations online in 2020, local and national groups will be holding in-person events this year in conjunction with additional virtual and online events. Pride Month is celebrated every June in tribute to those involved in the Stonewall Riots, and we’re getting ready to dust off our 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ flags, douse ourselves in glitter, and go join in the fun. With parades, festivals, and concerts going on across the globe, there’s always some way for you to get involved—as well as learn some important social history along the way. Throughout the month of June, we will focus on different aspects of Pride in the eMinder and on the Web site. If you have a Pride-related story you would like us to share, please contact us!
A Brief History of Pride Month
On a hot summer’s night in New York on June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village. In response to the assault, bar patrons, staff, and neighborhood residents began rioting on Christopher Street outside. Among the many leaders of the riots was black, trans, bisexual woman, Marsha P. Johnson, who kept the movement going over six days with protests and clashes. The message was clear: protestors demanded the establishment of places where LGBT+ people could go and be open about their sexual orientation without fear of arrest.
Pride Month is largely credited as being started by bisexual activist, Brenda Howard. Known as “The Mother of Pride,” Brenda organized Gay Pride Week and the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade a year after the Stonewall Riots. This eventually morphed into what we now know as
the New York City Pride March, and from where parades and marches across the world evolved.
Speaking of the rainbow flag, gay politician, Harvey Milk, asked his talented designer friend, Gilbert Baker, to design an all-encompassing symbol to take to San Francisco’s Pride March in 1978. Sadly, Harvey Milk was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone, on November 23, 1978 in San Francisco City Hall by Dan White, a disgruntled former Supervisor, who was angry at Milk who had lobbied hard against having him reappointed on the Board of Supervisors.
Bill Clinton was the first US President to officially recognize Pride Month in 1999 and 2000. From 2009 to 2016, President Barack Obama declared June LGBT Pride Month. Then-candidate Joe Biden marked the 50th anniversary of Pride in June 2020 and his Administration issued a “blanket authorization” for U.S. mission around the world to fly the Pride flag in 2021, reaffirming the government’s support for equal rights and protections for all.
The New York Pride Parade is one of the largest and most well-known parades to take place, with over 2 million people estimated to have taken part in the 2019—and Capital Pride in DC is well known as a popular destination as well!