The History of Pride

Pride month is a really wonderful time for people of the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate their identities and feel a sense of freedom that was at one point, illegal. Pride Month and Pride parades have been a staple in our society since 1970, and while now we’re able to appreciate this time the history of Pride is often forgotten. 

Pride Month started in 1970 following the most monumental moment in LGBTQ+ history. On June 28th, 1968 police stormed the Stonewall Inn, a known gay bar in New York. At this time homosexuality was illegal, and so was dressing in any form of drag or ‘unfeminine’ clothing for women. When the police stormed Stonewall, unlike other times they were not met with peace. The brave people in the Stonewall building fought back, and it quickly became a riot. 

Trans women of color like Marsha P. Johnson and  Sylvia Rivera are known to be of the first who acted, once police demanded a ‘sex verification’ on trans women. 

This riot sent a clear message to the police and the nation that LGBTQ+ were no longer going to accept being mistreated as they were. 

Toni Reed Udggq3Ml Toni Reed / Unsplash

"People did not have power then; even now, we only have some. But anyone can have pride in themselves, and that would make them happier as people, and produce the movement likely to produce change." ~ L. Craig Shoonmaker

Soon following the Stonewall Riots, a committee was created to remember and celebrate these riots and after many slogans were thrown around, like ‘Gay Power,’ but L. Craig Schoonmaker suggested "gay pride," and it was instantly adopted. 

Thus, came Pride month, celebrated in June to remember the riots that started it all. The symbol of Pride, the rainbow flag came a little later. The rainbow became the symbol loosely based on the pink triangle used in Nazi Germany to identify gay individuals. The flag was created in 1978 by artist  Gilbert Baker who wanted each stripe to represent something meaningful to the gay community,  "Hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony and violet for spirit." 

Pride month is a fantastic time, and I hope we are able to celebrate it forever but we must always, especially now also celebrate, recognize and thank the efforts made by the Trans women of color at the Stonewall riots and the consistent contributions made by POC in the LGBTQ+ community.