This Tuesday, June 1, marks the beginning of LGBTQ Pride month, a month-long event which is celebrated every year in June as a tribute to those who were involved in the Stonewall Uprising and to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people around the world. During the month, Pride Day is also celebrated as something of a sub-holiday. Pride Fay occurs on June 28 to commemorate the date in history when the first Pride March was held in New York City in 1970. However, different communities celebrate Pride Day on different days throughout June.
Pride Month began, as mentioned above, with the Stonewall Uprising. The Stonewall Inn was a gay club in Greenwich Village, one of the few places in the city back then where you could openly express yourself as LGBTQ. Because of the many laws against being openly gay during the 1960s, the Stonewall Inn was Mafia-owned and operated and frequently raided by police. On June 28, 1969, New York City Police raided the Stonewall Inn, which resulted in bar patrons, staff and many neighborhood residents rioting onto the street outside. For the next six days, protests and clashes ensued and were led by Marsha P. Johnson, an American gay liberation activist and founding member of the Gay Liberation Front. The message they were sending was clear - protestors demanded the establishment of places where LGBTQ people could be open about their sexuality without fear of arrest.
Brenda Howard, known widely as the “Mother of Pride”, was one of the driving forces behind Pride Month. Along with Johnson, Howard was also a member of the Gay Liberation Front and an activist who helped plan LGBTQ rights events for over three decades. In 1970, a year after the events at the Stonewall Inn, Howard coordinated the first LGBTQ Pride March. She also birthed the idea of a week-long series of events that would take place around the Pride March, which was the catalyst for what we now recognize as Pride Month, celebrated worldwide.