Alively and impressive month of LGBTQ pride has passed! June is the month of pride, which means not only a holiday for the entire LGBTQA community, but also a time to look back and think about what steps are still needed to achieve equal human rights. Let’s look back at the 6 most important moments in history about pride, which mentions the unity of people to achieve a better tomorrow.
First of all, why is June a month of pride?
In 2000, Bill Clinton declared June the month of pride, commemorating the 1969 Stonewall Riots in response to frequent police raids and harassment of the gay community. Although modern pride festivities tend to center around the rainbow and glitters, they are still memories of the fact that “the first pride was unrest.” While equality may not seem important to the LGBTQ community as more and more countries legalize same-sex marriage , it must be remembered that there are many places in the world where being gay or transgender is not so safe . We are still fighting for equality, but we have come a long way. Here are some of the most important facts about pride.
1. The Stoneville riots in 1969 – riots against the criminalization of homosexuality
The Stonewall Inn was a bar that served as an underground ‘refuge’ for New York’s gay, lesbian and transgender community. Like many bars at the time, Stonewall was controlled by mafia representatives who provided control by threatening to expose wealthy members of the LGBTQ community. Police raids were regular here, but on this special night of June 28, 1969, the public decided to fight institutionalized homophobia.
Eight undercover police officers entered Stonehole, targeting cross-dressers and dragging them into a police van. A transgender resisted the arrest, triggering the riots that led to the gay revolution. Car tires were punctured, fire bombs were thrown and police were forced to retreat. The following evening, Stonewall opened the door again, this time attracting a larger LGBTQ community crowd to show support. Police responded with the use of tear gas until early in the morning, and the uprising marked a turning point for gay activists, which eventually led to the first pride parade.
2. 1970 – The first pride commemorates the events of Stonewall
The first Pride parade took place one year after the Stonewall riots on 28 June 1970. The crowd turned out to be larger than expected, with thousands of marchers gathered in the streets of New York for 51 blocks to enter Central Park to protest the oppression of homosexuals. It was like a revival for many American families who had no idea how many people were part of this community.
3. In 1972, the Pride expanded internationally, with London playing a key role
The Gay Liberation Front (GLF) was the first gay, transgender and bisexual organization in the UK. The first Pride march was held on July 1, 1972. They demanded release and visibility from their oppressors, who had previously treated them with incomprehension.
Fearing aggressive oppressors and violent police, only 700 people attended the rally, but despite intimidation, they arrived in extravagant costumes. London’s first pride slogan was “Gay is good”, which earned some hostility from the general public and the media, and more importantly, some curiosity from neutral members of society.
4. The first rainbow flag – artist Gilbert Baker
The simple yet meaningful pride flag design is symbolic of all minorities in the LGBTQ + community. The first rainbow flag at the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade was created on June 25, 1978 by artist Gilbert Baker. Although designed by Baker, the original flag was actually created by thirty volunteers who painted it and sewn it by hand as a symbol of unity.
The flag was later adopted at the Museum of Modern Art and publicly displayed on June 26, 2015, when the U.S. Supreme Court finally legalized same-sex marriage.
5. The first pride in Latvia
The Riga Pride, an annual Latvian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) event, took place for the first time in 2005. In Latvia, both the first march and the events organized in 2006 are associated with violent protests (sprinkling of pride participants with eggs, feces), which were condemned by the international community.
6. 2015 – European Broadcast in Riga
In 2015, one of the largest LGBT events in European countries – Europe Broadcast took place in Riga, gathering about 5,000 participants. It was organized by LGBT and their friends’ association “Mosaic”, motivating the event in solidarity with the LGBT community in post-Soviet countries and the importance of strengthening freedom of speech and assembly in Eastern Europe. This allowed Riga to compete with Western European cities such as Barcelona, Milan and Manchester . This was the first time that the European Broadcast took place on the territory of the former USSR.
The march took place without significant incidents. The picket against the event at the Vērmane Garden was organized by the association “Antiglobālisti”, but an opponent of the European Broadcasting burned the symbol of the LGBT community – the rainbow flag – at the Supreme Court.