It's Pride Month: Here's what to know

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LGBTQ+ Pride Month, often shortened to Pride Month, officially started on Saturday, but how much do you know about the annual month-long celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride?

To start, Pride Month began 54 years ago in June 1970 with Gay Pride Week, a celebration that marked the first anniversary of the violent raid at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City.

The riot, on June 28, 1969, consisted of a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations against a police raid on the bar in Greenwich Village. The Stonewall Riots are seen as the start of the gay rights movement in the United States, where people in the homosexual community began to fight back against persecution.

The first Pride Week featured marches in four of the United States’ biggest cities: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, and it has grown ever since.

Here’s what else you should know about Pride Month.

What is the meaning of Pride Month?

Pride Month is about preaching and advocating for acceptance and equality, but also celebrating the work of LGBTQ+ people, education of the community’s history and bringing awareness to issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community.

It’s also a celebration of LGBTQ culture and tries to uplift LGBTQ voices, but can mean different things for different people.

It both commemorates years of struggle that the community has faced for civil rights and the ongoing pursuit of equal justice under the law for LGBTQ+ people.

What are Pride parades?

Pride parades, also known as pride events, pride festivals, pride marches, or pride protests, are one way that Pride Month is celebrated.

The events happen mostly in the Western world and sometimes also serve as demonstrations for legal rights, including same-sex marriage and transgender rights, but also are often celebratory and are filled with the pride of being a part of the community.

The events have grown internationally.

The largest Pride parade took place in New York City in 2019, marking 50 years since the Stonewall Riots, with an estimated five million people attending the event, called Stonewall 50 – WorldPride NYC 2019, in Manhattan alone.

The first marches were both serious and fun and served to inspire the widening LGBTQ movement.

Notable Pride parades include the largest LGBT pride event in Asia in Tel Aviv, Israel, which attracts more than 260,000 people yearly. Others include parades in Germany, the Berlin Pride and Cologne Pride and Paris Pride, which hosts an annual Gay Pride Parade in the capital city of France.

Who created Pride Month?

Forty-five years after the first Pride Week celebration, President Bill Clinton proclaimed June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, recognizing it officially in the United States. In 2009, President Barack Obama expanded it, declaring June LGBT Pride Month.

Why is June 28th Pride Day?

On June 28th, as part of Pride Month, International LGBT+ Pride Day is celebrated on the day that the Stonewall Riots took place.

What does the rainbow flag mean?

The original rainbow pride flag was made in 1978 by artist Gilbert Baker, an openly gay military veteran and activist. Harvey Milk, a key historical figure in the fight for LGBTQ rights, asked him to create a symbol of gay pride.

The flag has since been expanded to be inclusive toward other community members and represents the diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community. In recent years, the flag has been modified to represent intersex and asexual communities and Two-Spirit people.

Baker was inspired by the song “Over the Rainbow” from the movie, Wizard of Oz, and assigned meanings to each color.

Here’s what the flag’s colors mean:

  • Hot pink: Represents sex
  • Red: Symbolizes life
  • Orange: Stands for healing
  • Yellow: Equals sunlight
  • Green: Stands for nature
  • Turquoise: Symbolizes magic and art
  • Indigo: Represents serenity
  • Violet: Symbolizes the spirit of LGBTQ+ people

What is the difference between Pride Month and LGBTQ Month?

Pride Month takes place annually in June, but LGBT History Month takes place in October and celebrates the achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender icons, according to the LGBTQ History Month website run by Equality Forum.

What is the theme for Pride Month in 2024?

“Reflect. Empower, Unite.” was announced as the official theme by New York City Pride, but different parades have different themes, including:

  • Washington, D.C.: “Totally Radical.”
  • Los Angeles: “Power in Pride.”
  • San Francisco: “Beacon of Love.”
  • New York: “Reflect. Empower. Unite.”

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