Every year, in the mont of June, the nation, along with many countries around the world, celebrate the LGBTQ community, & every year, the gays all get together to promote their dignity, equality, and to increase their visibility as a social group. This is know as Gay Pride, which is the positive stance against discrimination and violence towards this group.
But regardless of why you attend the special LGBTQ events for equality, whether it’s to meet people, party, or for social justice, I think the message we send out is very important. I honestly think people lose track of why we have such a celebratory month to begin with. When I attended pride, I didn’t receive a history lesson, but I will say that I got to see different walks of life, the young mixed with the old, the conservatives mixed with the liberals, so on and so forth, which was an eye opening experience for myself. I’m all for people having a great time, hell, we very much deserve it in my book after all the oppression we have received over the decades, but I think it’s fair that we also get a continual reminder as to why we get to even celebrate.
So, let’s jump back to the 1950s and 1960s. This era was extremely repressive for the LGBTQ community. There were no legal or social rights for any of them. We can give much thanks to such organizations like Daughters of Bilitis & Mattachine Society for being the ones to pave the way for our community today. They would carry out pickets known as annual reminders to inform the nation that the LGBTQ community didn’t have any rights whatsoever. These annual reminders began in 1965 & took place each July 4th, outside of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
The protesters of this course counted gay men and women to have mental illness, much like we see today, hence Mike Pence, the 45th’s backup.
The first Pride march in New York City was June 28, 1970. Which was proposed by Craig Rodwell, his partner Fred Sargeant, Ellen Broidy, & Linda Rhodes back in 1969.
“That the Annual Reminder, in order to be more relevant, reach a greater number of people, and encompass the ideas and ideals of the larger struggle in which we are engaged-that of our fundamental human rights-be moved both in time and location.
We propose that a demonstration be held annually on the last Saturday in June in New York City to commemorate the 1969 spontaneous demonstrations on Christopher Street and this demonstration be called CHRISTOPHER STREET LIBERATION DAY. No dress or age regulations shall be made for this demonstration.
We also propose that we contact Homophile organizations throughout the country and suggest that they hold parallel demonstrations on that day. We propose a nationwide show of support.”
We also can’t forget about Brenda Howard, the woman known as the Mother of Pride for her use of coordinating the first march, which went down in history, & covered the 51 blocks to Central Park. She also originated the dea for a week long series of events surrounding Pride day.
During the same weekend of the NYC march, there were two marches in California: one in L.A. And one in San Francisco, as well as a march in Chicago. Just two years after the first march, 15 more cities/countries joined the Pride March, including Stockholm, Atlanta, & London.
These legends really paved the way for or community, & I wish they were given more air time. Especially since we have come as far as being able to marry our own now! Our rights are getting higher and higher on the scale, & I’m damn sure they would be all too happy to see what has been accomplished.
So next time you’re out celebrating Pride, take a moment to realize why you’re able to do it in the first place. When you sip on your beer, make a toast to the ones that made it all possible for us.