June is Pride Month, when the world’s LGBT communities come together and celebrate the freedom to be themselves.
The gatherings around LGBT Pride are rooted in the arduous history of minority groups who have struggled for decades to overcome prejudice and be accepted for who they are.
The original organizers chose this month to pay tribute to the Stonewall uprising in June 1969 in New York City, an event that helped fuel the modern movement to fight for gay rights. Most Pride events take place each year in June, although some cities hold their celebrations at other times of the year.
Who celebrates it?LGBT Pride events are aimed at anyone who feels their sexual identity is left out of the mainstream, although many straight people join as well.
LGBT is an acronym that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. The term is sometimes extended to LGBTQ, or even LGBTQIA, to include queer, intersex, and asexual groups. Queer is a generic term for non-heterosexual people; intersex refers to those whose sex is not clearly defined due to genetic, hormonal or biological differences; and asexual describes those who do not experience sexual attraction.
In the early hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar located in New York’s Greenwich Village, and began driving customers abroad.
Tensions quickly escalated as patrons resisted arrest and a growing crowd of passersby threw bottles and coins at officers. New York’s gay community, fed up with years of harassment by authorities, erupted in neighborhood riots that lasted for three days.
What is the origin of the rainbow flag?
In 1978, San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk, one of America’s first openly gay elected officials, commissioned artist and designer Gilbert Baker to make a flag for upcoming Pride celebrations in the city. Baker, a prominent gay rights activist, winked at the stripes on the American flag, but was inspired by the rainbow to reflect the many groups within the gay community.
A subset of flags represents other sexualities on the spectrum, such as bisexual, pansexual, and asexual.