Pride 101.. Happy Pride Month!
Pride Month is an entire month dedicated to the uplifting of LGBTQ voices, a celebration of LGBTQ culture, and the support of LGBTQ rights.
The rainbow flag — created by artist Gilbert Baker in 1978 — is used as a symbol of LGBTQ pride, but did you know that each color on the flag has its own meaning? In the widely known six-color flag, red is symbolic of life, orange is symbolic of spirit, yellow is sunshine, green is nature, blue represents harmony and purple is spirit. In the original eight-color flag, hot pink was included to represent sex and turquoise to represent magic/art.
There have been many variations on the flag. The flag has was altered in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests, including black to represent diversity, brown to represent inclusivity, and light blue and pink, the colors of the trans pride flag.
Pride month is about equality, teaching acceptance, education in pride history, and above all, love. During this month, we educate others and ourselves about how damaging homophobia is and why we need to get rid of it. It’s about being proud of who you are no matter who you love.
Why do we celebrate Pride month?
The catalyst for Pride is actually a riot—the 1969 Stonewall Riots.
On June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Uprising took place in New York City in the USA. At the time, the NY police would frequently raid queer bars and harass the queer community. Back then, the American Constitution also had laws banning homosexuality.
One of the most popular gay bars, Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn was raided frequently too. However, on that particular day in June, all hell broke loose when the queer community fought back and protested hard for several days. This changed the world forever, for the better.
The following year, the first official Pride parade was carried out on the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, with Christopher Street Liberation Day and the tradition has continued till date. The pioneering activists of the Stonewall Inn include Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Marsha, a black drag queen, and Sylvia a Latinx transgender woman. Without the fightback of these activists, gay liberation may have gone at a much slower pace.
From 1969 until now, LGBTQ folks and allies have been fighting hard to give the community the right to marry, the right to adopt children, to start families, to fight discrimination, hate speech, and hate crimes, and to simply allow queer folks to exist. While we acknowledge the progress we’ve made, we also need to be realistic and remember that we still have a long way to go; as there are many countries throughout the world that continue to criminalize and oppress LGBT+ people; including 49 countries that punish homosexual acts with imprisonment and 11 countries that use the death penalty against LGBT+ people.
Here’s hoping that the world will soon accept love and lovers without discrimination. Happy Pride Month