Growing up, I often heard adults pointing fingers at people marching at Pride for being too provocative, or “too much”. Fortunately, Pride has become a lot more accepted since I was a child. People are more open-minded, and new generations are now growing up with more accepting values. This is exactly what Pride was meant to do: open people’s eyes to the right to love, the right to be a human and simply have equal rights. I am sure that older generations who marched the first Prides would now look at us all and be amazed about what we have all accomplished, us, the LGBTQ+ community.
Yesterday officially marked the first day of Pride Month: June. The month of June was chosen as being the month of LGBTQ+ pride, as a way to commemorate the Stonewall riots. The Stonewall riots were a result of a violent police raid that took place on June 28 in 1969. According to History, in the early hours of June 28, 1969, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village in New York City. This sparked a riot among bar patrons and neighbourhood residents as police roughly 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 neighbouring streets and in nearby Christopher Park. The Stonewall Riots served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world. It was the birth of Pride Month as we know it now.
The Pride Parades take place on different dates during the summer in various cities around the world.
Pride Month and the Pride Parade are essential to the LGBTQ+ community as, to this day, queer people still suffer from major discrimination and human rights violations. The death penalty for same-sex relations is still applied in many countries around the world, and hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people continue to trouble the headlines on a daily basis. LGBTQ+ is a stance, a political statement and a display of courage against discrimination and violence towards the community. Pride is also a way of encouraging LGBTQ+ people to be proud of being themselves, regardless of the negative judgment of others , regardless of the danger they are facing and regardless of people, even sometimes family members, not accepting them. Pride accepts everybody, and Pride encourages the LGBTQ+ community to stand together in difficult times.
Some conservative people judge Pride as being just an excuse for queer people to dance in a bondage outfit, or drag queens to put on a show. In a way, it is about that, and so much more (we all know that Pride without our amazing drag artists would not be Pride).
The Pride movement is about celebrating the entire spectrum of what the LGBTQ+ colours represent. Because let’s face it, if we, as a community, can’t be proud of ourselves or can’t accept who we are, how can we expect people to understand and accept us in return? So yes, you will see gay men dancing in g-strings and women rubbing boobs against each other. But you will also see same-sex families proudly walking with their children, activists defending basic human rights, healthcare workers educating about safe sex, trans people taking a stance against misunderstandings, and so much more.
I know that I will be seizing the opportunity to use this month to educate those who need it and I urge you to join me. And more importantly, let’s use this month to show true pride in who we are. Enjoy Pride Month!
Find more information about Pride in London here.
And here’s an explainer on all the various flags you’ll come across, courtesy of our friends at Pink News..