In its most basic form, the LGBTQ movement seeks to advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ community and combat the discrimination that LGBTQ people face.
Pride Month sees millions across the globe engage in protests, marches, events, parades, workshops, ect. This is to celebrate, commemorate and raise awareness of the LGBTQ community.
Pride Month is celebrated in different months apart from June in some countries but the message remains the same: Pride events are a safe space for LGBTQ people and allies to interact and enjoy themselves and, crucially, rally for reform.
Brenda Howard, known as ‘The Mother of Pride’, is largely credited with being the activist that organized the first Pride March and the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade a year after the Stonewall Riots. This has morphed into what we know as the New York City Pride March and has been a catalyst for the many Pride marches and parades held across the world.
Christopher Street Liberation Day on June 28th, 1970, marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots with a march, the first Gay Pride march in New York History.
The following year, Pride marches also took place in Boston, Dallas, Milwaukee, London, Paris, West Berlin and Stockholm. By 1972, Atlanta, Brighton, Buffalo, Detroit, Washington D.C, Miami. Philadelphia and San Francisco were participating in similar marches.
In the 80s and 90s, there was a purposeful shift in the movement. The movement became more about Pride and Civil Rights rather than liberation or freedom as such, due to political pressure on groups.
Since then, four US presidents have declared June as the US’ Pride Month. Bill Clinton established Pride Month in 1999 in a proclamation, at the time called Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. George W Bush failed to recognise Pride Month. Barack Obama went on to acknowledge Pride Month every year during his time in office in a proclamation. Donald Trump acknowledged Pride Month – but in a tweet, rather than a presidential proclamation.
Current US President Joe Biden is seen to have the most pro-LGBTQ administration in history. On his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order that directs federal agencies to protect LGBTQ people under all federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on sex.
It is safe to assume that attitudes are changing. Research has shown increasingly accepting attitudes in many countries. According to Pew Research Centre, several of the countries surveyed in 2002 and 2019 have seen a “double-digit increase in acceptance of homosexuality”.
However, it’s important to take these findings with a grain of salt as there are many places that still treat members of the LGBTQ community negatively. In fact, a vast majority of Commonwealth countries criminalise homosexuality. There are not nearly enough policies and laws that protect the rights and wellbeing of the LGBTQ community.
So, this month, I encourage you to engage yourself as an active and positive member of or ally of the LGBTQ community! Happy Pride Month!