The History and Meaning of Gay Pride Month

After having faced years and years of repression and demonization, the distance the LGBT Community has come gives a whole lot to be prideful of. With June being National LGBT Pride Month, it’s important to take a look back and recognize the struggles that the community has faced, and the obstacles it has overcome.

 

On June 28, 1969 New York City Police raided a Greenwich Village bar called the Stonewall Inn,that was known to be popular among the local gay community. While raids like this were not uncommon, the Stonewall riots are remembered as a triggering point in history when the attendants of the bar fought back. One year later, on June 28th 1970, the first gay pride march was held in commemoration of the riots.

 

The aftermath of the Stonewall Inn riots, and the beginning of gay pride marches across the country began to instigate small changes in the LGBT community, that eventually would lead us to where we are today. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from DSM-II, marking a big win.

 

June continues to be a significant time for the LGBT community and by June of 1984, pride celebrations had been established in numerous major cities in the US. And while the fight for gay rights has been an on going battle, the past few years has seen a huge shift in the way the LGBT community is seen, heard, and represented.

 

On June 15, 2011—just before the celebration of Pride Weekend, state lawmakers voted to make New York the sixth state to recognize same sex marriage. Two years later, Edie Windsor, an American LGBT rights activist, picked a fight with the Defense of Marriage act and won. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was introduced in 1996 and defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted under the laws of other states. Ms. Windsor, however brought her fight to the US Supreme Court, and won—meaning that the Federal Government was now required to recognize same sex marriages in states where they were legal.

 

Then, on June 28th 2015, marking the 46th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the long fight and string of small victories came to a head—the Supreme Court ruled that same sex couples could legally marry nationwide.

 

While the road ahead is certainly a long and winding one for the LGBT community, and while there has been no easy fight in the past, let’s take this time to celebrate how far we have come, and how far we are willing to fight in the future!

Lieve Falck-Pedersen