History of LGBTQ+ Pride Month


Hello again, my lovely readers! For today’s article, we are going to get a bit more serious than usual. I’m sure that you all know that next month is the International Pride Month for all 30 days. Because of that, we wrote many articles on how to make the most of this celebration. But it wasn’t always like that.


History of LGBTQ+ Pride Month


Today we are going to learn a little about the history of Pride Month and the events that started this tradition worldwide. From ancient times to the point of inflection that occurred during the first hours of June 28th, 1969. Keep reading to know how Pride Month started and why!


The LGBTQ+ Scene in New York in the 60s


History of LGBTQ+ Pride Month


To understand better the facts of that night, we must first learn what was going on in New York at the time. As you may surely know, gay rights were inexistent in past times in many societies. This wasn’t different in New York either. Even though it was the first state to consider “sodomy” as a misdemeanor, discrimination was far from over. A member of the LGBTQ+ community could get a maximum penalty of six months in prison just for being free. During the 60s there was a “change of politics” enforced by the mayor and the police corp. But in fact, it was more like open warfare on the gay community of the city. Discrimination, prosecution, and raids on LGBTQ+ friendly bars were very frequent. And this wasn’t a small community at all.


A City with Years of LGBTQ+ History


History of LGBTQ+ Pride Month


It is not by chance that the LGBTQ+ community of New York came to be what it is today. During the first half of the 20th century, the city was known for being a cosmopolitan metropolis. In fact, drag balls were very popular during the time. Many crossdressing and gay events took place in Manhattan. The Masquerade and Civic Ball was one of the biggest and most famous in the world! Part of the reasons why the island became so popular among the community. It was a city where one could live seemingly free. And I chose those specific words because not everything was good (and still isn’t). Minor balls and gay bars were raided by the police proclaiming an ancient law from 1864! This law forbade citizens to be disguised in public. Despite this, the LGBTQ+ community of New York never stopped growing, not only in numbers but in strength and unity too.


The Famous Stonewall Riots


History of LGBTQ+ Pride Month


As I said before, despite some changing laws, members of the LGBTQ+ community were treated as second-class citizens in many aspects. It only took a bigot agent of the law having a bad day to violate an infinite number of human rights. This situation was aggravated by the fact that this violence was part of the system. John Lindsay was the mayor of the city at the time and one of the biggest responsible for the burst that happened that night. If we refer to historic events, we can see a pattern in the late ex-mayor’s actions. His time as Mayor of the city was full of discrimination and riots. Looking back it looks like an open war against “minorities”. As you can imagine, this policy extended and infected most of the local state institutions. Under this heated atmosphere, it made sense to lay low to stay safe. This was until a series of raids at gay bars culminated with the Stonewall Riots.


A Fateful Summer Night at the Stonewall Inn


History of LGBTQ+ Pride Month


The Stonewall Inn was and still is a famous friendly bar for everyone. At the time of the events, it was one of the biggest safe havens for the LGBTQ+ community of New York. During the first hours of June 28th, some undercover agents entered the bar to visually confirm the “crimes” going on. It is unclear whether Stonewall’s staff were tipped off about the planned raid and believed the rumors were false or were completely unaware of the situation. Officers of the Public Morals Squad waited outside for confirmation until they received the green light. They soon entered the bar shouting “Police!” and provoking people during the raid. Officers started to arrest people and confiscate the bar’s alcohol. The aggressiveness and years of discrimination exploded once and for all and bystanders defended against the police. Law enforcers were driven out of the bar and chased them down Greenwich Village’s streets.


The Second Night of Riots


History of LGBTQ+ Pride Month 


Members of the LGBTQ+ community were sick and tired of years of abuse and that night is empiric proof of it. But that wasn’t the end. The following night, queens, gays, lesbians, and queers took their masks off and took the streets once again. They were out in the open. They paraded professing their love and lifestyles without shame. The crowd was joined by tourists and bystanders from the surrounding areas. Gathering at what remained of the Stonewall Inn because of the previous night, they partied celebrating this tremendous act of braveness.


History of LGBTQ+ Pride Month


That is until police officers arrive once again and they violently raided the place. Witnesses doubt which night was more violent and wilder. Rioting and fights continued until 4 am with the public rising to defend against ongoing arrests. The night of the 29th ended with a dozen arrests and some seriously injured officers. It was a turning point in the history of not only LGBTQ+ but human rights as a whole.


The Aftermath of the Stonewall Riots


History of LGBTQ+ Pride Month


After reading this, it is no wonder why New York is considered to be one of the birthplaces of LGBTQ+ rights. That night was all but unforgotten, and it is today that we celebrate Pride Month in June in remembrance of the events of that night. These two riots became an international movement of liberation and expression of love. And it didn’t take long for that to happen. The community had enough of it and the following year the first Pride March took place. The tides began to change and continue to do so still today thanks to those brave souls. The community grew larger, stronger, and more united ever since then, even though the fight for rights is all but over.


This is just a brief recollection of events that led to a massive change in the world. I strongly suggest you investigate more about this fascinating movement of liberation. I believe this is an inspiring history and I enjoyed writing about it a lot! I hope it does show and you feel the same way as I do! Please let me know in the comments below what you think of it! See you soon and remain free and celebrate love!


Written by Tina Munova.

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