PURPOSE & PRIDE

Why We Celebrate PRIDE in June

A key turning point for Gay Rights and the LGBT movement came in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, when the patrons of the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village fought back against police harassment.

Rioters outside the Stonewall Inn, June 28, 1969 (Reprinted with permission from Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation)

What started out as an all-too-routine police raid turned into a melee spanning several days, involving hundreds of people. Although this wasn’t the first act of LGBT resistance, the confrontation at Stonewall inspired an uprising that led to a dramatic increase in the number of LGBT civil rights organizations and a more visible, political, powerful, and effective movement. 

 

Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day, the first commemoration of the Stonewall Inn riots, took place exactly one year after the Stonewall Inn riots – June 28, 1970. Hundreds of people gathered in front of the Stonewall Inn that morning (on Christopher Street) and marched up 6th Avenue to Central Park – arriving with thousands of people to celebrate a “Gay Be-in”. The concept of coming out was born that day – pronouncing the importance of visibility to advance laws, policies, and cultural understanding of the LGBT community. The marches continued each June, evolving into what we now recognize as PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education) parades. Today, millions of people around the world unite during the month of June to commemorate Stonewall in celebration, purpose, and pride.

Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day photograph by Diane Davies. (Reprinted with permission from New York Public Library)

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