June is Pride Month. It’s a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and work toward equality. Like most months symbolizing a cause, pride and LGBTQ+ have a long history that got them where they are today.
The Stonewall Uprising
The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. It’s also known as the Stonewall Riots, and they took place on June 28, 1969, when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village in New York City. The raid sparked a riot among bar patrons and neighborhood residents as police hauled employees and patrons out of the bar, leading to six days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement outside the bar on Christopher Street, in neighboring streets, and in nearby Christopher Park
“Gay Pride Day”
The last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as "Gay Pride Day," but the actual day was flexible. In major cities across the nation, the "day" soon grew to encompass a month-long series of events.
Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia, concerts, and LGBTQ Pride Month events that attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.
The purpose is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally. With the LGBTQ+ community comes a whole world of discrimination, hate, abuse, and even murders. Studies show that experiencing these kinds of trauma increases the chances of emotional distress, and is even linked to a large amount of suicide in the community.
Therefore, awareness of these issues is one of the main goals of Pride.
Acceptance and Equality
If you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community, this month is all about making you feel like an equal part of society, and like someone who not only matters but is honored and can thrive. If you’re not a member, allies can have a major impact on the movement and the goals.
Take the time to learn from the people you know inside the community. Attend Pride festivals and celebrations that bring awareness. Knowledge is power, and many times the discrimination is caused by misunderstanding. Violence and hate can be decreased, or even eliminated, with more understanding. When people in our community feel like they belong, regardless of the differences they have, it brings people together and allows for society to thrive together.
By Jessica Wettig Hendrix
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