In many parts of the world – June is celebrated as PRIDE month.
This year marks the 52nd year celebrating the LGBTIQ community. Pride month takes place across the entire month of June, commemorating the Stonewall Riots and focuses on uplifting LGBTIQ+ voices, honouring our culture, and continuing to advocate for human rights.
How did Pride Month begin?
Pride Month marks the spontaneous protests known as the Stonewall Riots or the Stonewall Uprising that began on June 28, 1969.
At the time, homosexual acts were illegal in every state in the USA except Illinois. On the early morning of June 28, police raided a known Gay Bar called the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, New York. While the police claim the bar was operating with an improper liquor license, the raid was said to have been more about violently harassing and arresting LGBTQ people. Raids like this had been happening for decades, however the Stonewall uprising was one of the first times when patrons fought back.
It is understood that the Stonewall uprising was started by butch lesbian of colour, Stormé DeLarverie the demonstrations were said to be led by two transgender women of colour Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.
The crowd of lesbians, gay men and transgender women clashed with the police – throwing bottles and refusing to be intimidated. The six-day period of protests and demonstrations is now known as the Stonewall Riots.
Between the 1950’s-60’s the LGBTIQ+ community faced violence and discrimination on the streets, at school, at work and from official government and federal bodies.
The Stonewall Protests were a turning point for LGBTIQ+ people. A new cultural awareness was forged for a community that had been marginalised for their non-conforming sexualities, genders and expressions throughout contemporary history.
How do we celebrate Pride Month?
Pride month reflects on how far we have come through modern history. We honour those who came before us, who paved the way for our LGBTIQ community to be safer, and to be free to be ourselves.
Celebrating Pride is done in many ways. It can be parades, parties, protests, discussions, social media posts or gatherings with friends and chosen family. We celebrate by being proudly visible, wearing or displaying one of the many types of Pride flags – such as the rainbow flag or Philadelphia pride flag and celebrating the amazing people in the LGBTIQ community.
How can we get involved in Australia?
The history of Pride Month is not just important in the USA. This historical moment impacted the rights of LGBTIQ+ people globally. In fact, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras initially took place in June 1978 as an act of global solidarity that commemorated the Stonewall Riots. Like Stonewall, the first Sydney Mardi Gras was met with police brutality, with 53 people arrested. The Sydney Morning Herald published the names of every person that was arrested, which led to many people being ‘outed’ and losing their jobs. In 1980, the organisers of Mardi Gras agreed to move the parade to summer. Mardi Gras in now one of the many LGBTIQ celebrations that happen around Australia in regional towns and big cities.
Stonewall Riots in the USA and globally (including Australia) have made huge changes to the human rights of LGBTIQ+ people. However it’s important to remember that we still have a long way to go for LGBTIQ+ people to have equality in Australia and across the world. To continue the fight for equality and inclusion, we need to make sure that all diverse voices are part of the conversation – this includes LGBTIQ+ people of colour, transgender people, bisexual people, LGBT elders and LGBTIQ+ people from diverse socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds.
This PRIDE month and every day – let’s celebrate our wins, recognise the LGBTIQ people that fought for these rights, and continue the conversation, solidarity and learning. Together – let’s pave the way for future generations.
You can celebrate Pride month as an LGBTIQ person or ALLY
- You could get involved in your organisations LGBTIQ+ Pride network, or make plans to start one.
- Start the conversation around pronouns on your organisation email signature. You can also update yours in your Instagram and LinkedIn profile
- You could check out this fantastic LGBTIQ booklist
- Listen to some of these fantastic LGBTIQ podcasts. Here’s a list of 100 to get you started
- Start an LGBTIQ artists playlist on Spotify
- Stuck in Victoria? Check out this list of fantastic LGBTIQ Pride films on Netflix, or have a look at this list
- Read about our amazing queer history. Check out this list of LGBTIQ trail blazers that you should know about
- Donate to an LGBTIQ organisation – there are so many across Australia that support and advocate for the rights of LGBTIQ+ people
- And for something simple – type Pride into your google search engine, and you can appreciate the Pride confetti falling down your screen
Resources and Reference:
ABC Queer instagram post
Stonewall UK article https://www.stonewall.org.uk/about-us/news/stonewall-uprising-50-years-lgbt-history
GLAAD article https://www.glaad.org/publications/stonewallkit