Pride Month is usually marked with rainbows and joyful celebrations of what it means to be part of the LGBT+ community, but the history of the month and why we celebrate it had quite different origins. Remembering the history of Pride Month is a huge part of celebrating it for the fiftieth year in 2022.
Here’s what you need to know about when Pride Month is and why we celebrate.
When is Pride Month?
Pride Month runs throughout the month of June in the UK and in many countries around the world. The entire month is dedicated to celebrating LGBT+ people and culture and raising awareness about ongoing issues faced by the communities.
Most cities host dedicated Pride marches on one or two days of the month, but there are often various smaller events to take part in as well.
What were the Stonewall riots?
Pride Month is celebrated in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots. These protests took place in 1969 in the United States and sparked widespread change for LGBT+ rights around the world.
On June 28th 1969, New York police officers from the ‘Public Morals Division’ raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village. This was a common occurrence in the sixties, when it was legal for police to arrest and hospitalise gay people by force.
However, people in the Stonewall Inn fought back against this raid, with hundreds of people resisting arrest against the eight police officers. The policemen ended up barricading themselves inside the bar and the protesters took to the streets for five nights after that, led by Black trans woman Martha P. Johnson.
While this was not the first example of LGBT+ activism, it was perhaps the most impactful of the time, with widespread media coverage around the world. Every year since then, LGBT+ communities around the world have rallied each year to remember the Stonewall riots and their impact.
Originally known as Gay Freedom, the term for these events was changed to Gay Pride in the 1980s. In 2009, President Barack Obama officially declared June the month of LGBT Pride.