Celebrating Pride Day and Month

Pride is the promotion and self-affirmation, equality, dignity and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex and asexual or allied (LGBTQIA) people as a social community. Pride, as opposed to social stigma and shame, is the overriding outlook that bolsters most LGBTQIA rights movements. Pride has given its name to LGBTQIA-themed organizations, institutes, foundations, book titles, periodicals, a cable TV station and the Pride Library.

Pride Day is officially celebrated on June 28 every year and the entire month of June is also designated as Pride Month.

The Stonewall Riots occurred on June 28, 1969. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people rioted following a police raid at the Stonewall Inn at 53 Christopher Street. This riot and the further protests which followed are watershed moments in the modern American and global LGBTQIA rights movement and along with the first Pride March in 1970 served as the impetus for the setting up of future annual LGBT Pride marches in the US and all around the globe. Christopher Street Liberation Day was the first ever Gay Pride march in history. It was held on June 28, 1970 and covered the 51 blocks from Christopher Street to Central Park in Manhattan.

It has been estimated that there are now around 300 separate Pride events and marches held in cities all over the word. Some of the biggest pride events are as follows:

  • New York Pride
  • Madrid Pride in Spain
  • Tel Aviv Pride in Israel
  • Taiwan Pride
  • Sydney Mardi Gras Parade in Australia
  • London Pride
  • Toronto Pride in Canada
  • Johannesburg Pride in South Africa.

Although June 28 is officially Pride Day and June is officially Pride month, not all Pride events are held in June. Most are held during the summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Sydney Pride in Australia, also called Sydney Mardi Gras is held in February, which is summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

Jon Kuykendall-BarrettAs a member of the LGBTQIA community myself, I have had the pleasure of taking part in Pride events in London, Vancouver, Toronto (where I shook hands with Justin Trudeau!) and now for the past five years singing with my choir on our float at LA Pride (see photo above).

Most events do have a parade as the centerpiece of the celebration, commemorating the first ever Pride parade in 1970. Today’s parades tend to be more fun and lighthearted celebrations of the LGBTQIA community rather than only protest marches against suffering and inequality. It’s important to note that in a number of countries around the world, members of the LGBTQIA community are still being discriminated against and denied the same rights as heterosexual people. There are courageous LGBTQIA people all over the world holding peaceful Pride parades which are often disrupted, closed down or banned. Examples are Moscow Pride in Russia, which still manages to go ahead every year despite protests and arrests and Uganda Pride, which is held in secret.

In addition to the annual pride events held around the world there is also an official World Pride event every two years. One particular city is designated as that year’s pride city and encourages LGBTQIA people to come together and celebrate in one place. Recent venues have included Rome, Italy, Jerusalem, Israel, London, UK, Madrid, Spain, Toronto, Canada and New York City. Last year around 2.5 million people traveled to New York to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

For the first time ever, World Pride will be hosted in two separate cities next year. The two cities are only 15 minutes apart by train over a bridge and through a tunnel: Copenhagen in Denmark and Malmo in Sweden.

This year is not a World Pride Year, but all the other local Pride events were scheduled to take place this summer before the COVID-19 pandemic. So, what will Pride mean this year?

So far 280 Pride events have been officially canceled due to the pandemic, but organizers are saying that the show will go on, just in a different format. Local and international Pride organizations have come together to coordinate a huge, worldwide Pride event that will be hosted completely online.

The 24-hour event will be held on June 27, Pride Day and will feature musical performances, speeches and other pride-related goings-on throughout the day so that people from different time zones can enjoy. The event will begin in the eastern part of the globe and travel west.

The organizers behind this year’s online Pride felt it was important to not skip a year as Pride can be especially important to LGBTQIA people who are first-time attendees.

For more information updates about this year’s online Pride event go to: https://www.interpride.org/

Happy Pride Day and Pride Month 2020!

Written by Jon Kuykendall-Barrett, Account Executive