The month of June is dedicated to recognizing the LGBTQIA+ community. Pride Month, as it is known, celebrates a spectrum of humans; their history, the challenges and the joys of their unique individuality. We’ll explore some historical moments and the whole grand rainbow of it all!
What is Pride Month?
What is the what?
The observance of Pride Month exists to shine a spotlight on the LGBTQIA+ community and culture. During the month of June, there are organized events to celebrate Pride- such as parades, concerts, activism, exhibits and more! The events in June put out a call to all to expand unity, diversity and equity. We often see Pride marked by rainbows or glitter, but it really is so much more than that. The events during June encourage us to look ahead to a kinder and more fair future. It also reminds us to reflect upon the past.
According to GLAAD’s website, “The number and variety of Pride events throughout the country and the world reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ community both in the United States and abroad.” In some areas, there might be a week, weekend or day long celebration of Pride. The over arching goal of all of these events serve to increase awareness for the LGBTQ community and its allies. Let’s dig into some of the big questions that you might have about Pride Month!
Why is Pride Month in June?
One of the most pivotal moments for the LGBTQ community was an event which became known as the Stonewall Uprising. Being openly gay or queer in America was essentially a taboo of society leading up to the 1960s. In the later part of the decade, this was still the case. In New York City, being out or even being in the presence of a gay person counted as disorderly conduct. These limitations led to the existence of gay bars outlawed and thus they would remain underground.
One word: Stonewall
Despite it all, the Stonewall Inn was an establishment well known to the LGBTQ community as being a safe haven for gathering and festive revelry. It was also known to police as a place where the queer community would gather. Homosexuality was considered a criminal offense in the 1960s. Thus, it was also illegal to serve alcohol to a gay person. This forced many gay bars to operate without a valid liquor license, thus inspiring the frequent raids. On June 28, 1969, New York City police raided the bar. This was not the first raid on a gay bar in NYC or elsewhere. Nonetheless, it was a critical one in the social justice arena and along the road to LGBTQ rights and the birth of Pride Day and Pride Month.
What unfolded at the Stonewall Inn was not just a stand alone event. The Stonewall Uprising spanned the course of several days. Bar patrons and police remained locked in contention. Police raided the bar after 1 am while wearing plainclothes. They approached the raid by claiming that they were investigating the alleged illegal sale of alcohol at the bar and began interrogating patrons in and outside the bar.
What made this raid different was that when they attempted to detain a woman by placing her in a patrol car, it caught the attention of patrons outside who began hurling objects at the police. It started with small items like coins and escalated to bottles and larger projectiles. The police barricaded themselves inside the bar where they continued to interrogate and round up patrons. Sometimes its hard to imagine a time before social media, but despite the lack of those platforms, the word spread through NYC like wildfire about the roundups and the raid. Supporters, protesters and interested parties alike made their way to the Stonewall. Overall, the standoff lasted six days and continued to see protests and fighting all the way through the following week.
The birth of Pride
Stonewall and the subsequent events which followed flung the gates to LGBTQ activism like never seen before. To quote Kay Tobin’s, The Gay Crusaders, “Many new activists consider the Stonewall Uprising the birth of the gay liberation movement. Certainly it was the birth of gay pride of a massive scale.” On the one year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, the first gay pride parade took place. The organizers founded the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee. Overall, their goal was to bring about healing and highlight the history of government hostility towards the LGBTQ community.
Today, Pride is more visible and attracts the LGBTQIA+ community along with its straight allies. Pride Month allows for the exploration of the history of the movement as well as recognizing the advances and setbacks over time. Additionally, it is an opportunity to expand ones horizons, gather together in joy and unity despite difference.
How to learn more
- The Stonewall Inn was designated a National Monument
- Library of Congress Pride Month information
- LGBTQIA+ Studies and Research Guide
- LGBTQ Library of Congress Blogs and Discussion Topics
- President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address references the Stonewall Uprising
- Watch documentary footage from LGBTQ+ rights pioneer Lilli Vincenz, including “Gay and Proud,” which features a rare glimpse of the first Pride march in New York City, 1970.
- Another film, “The Second Largest Minority,” highlights LGBTQ+ protests in Washington, D.C.
All in all, our message here at MTT and MTTES is unity, diversity, equity and inclusion. Key elements to the success of our community, tutors, students and families. Love and be loved! Happy Pride Month!
Courtney is an MTT tutor, academic coach, and blog contributor for MTTES. If you check out our FB and Instagram pages, you might see her giving a storytime with her son Jack through the company’s Facebook Live service. Courtney’s love of the English language, learning, and creative writing inspired her to contribute relevant content to teachers, tutors, parents, and homeschoolers seeking support across an array of trending topics. She and her teacher husband have two small children and reside in Baltimore, MD with their dog Lottie May.