June is celebrated as the Global Pride Month every year to commemorate the years of struggle for civil rights and ongoing activism to ensure social justice for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, as well as the accomplishments of LGBTQIA+ individuals.
The history of organized pursuit of gay rights dates back to 1924 when the Society for Human Rights was founded in Chicago. The Stonewall uprising became a catalyst in the movement. In June 1969, the Stonewall Inn which was a gay bar was raided by the Public Morals Division. At the time, the Public Morals Division had authority to enforce laws against gambling, prostitution, narcotics, and homosexuality. Cops could arrest and force gay people to be hospitalized. These sorts of raids were all too common.
That evening, Marsha P Johnson, who was present at the scene resisted. She threw a glass at the mirror and shouted, “I got my civil rights!” More and more people joined the fight. Hundreds of people resisted arrest to fight against police oppression. Riots ensued. The police had to barricade themselves inside the Stonewall Inn.
This was not the incident that marked the start of the movement but it helped take it to another level. Media coverage emboldened others to do what they could to help.
The following year, the anniversary of the Stonewall riots was marked by demonstrations in major American cities. The parades promoted visibility of the LGBTQIA+ community. They also served as a platform to raise awareness against social justice violations. They gave a growing LGBTQ movement a voice and, as support grew, that voice began to be heard.
June 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the annual pride traditions. Every year, pride parades and marches are organized all over the world. It is an occasion to celebrate one’s identity. It also gives a chance to build and foster a community. This year, restrictions on social gathering have prompted the organizers to come up with creative ways. The celebrations are going online.