Pride Month

Gabriel (Don) Rodriguez, Writer

June, aka pride month, is a time that many people look forward to. LGBTQ people and allies gather to celebrate queer history and resilence. Pride celebrations look different depending on where they take place, but you can usually expect to see booths of various organizations, food trucks, drag performances, and a parade. But pride wasn’t always about celebrating. The first “pride” on June 28th, 1969 was an uprising following a violent police raid at a gay bar; The Stonewall Inn.


Gay bars were an easy target to police because the New York State Liquor Authority punished and shut down bars that served alcohol to LGBT patrons. At the time people could also be arrested for “crossdressing” or solicitation of same-sex relations. Rusty Brown was a drag queen who was interviewed by The Lesbian and Gay History Project in 1983 about their experiences, they said, “I have been arrested in New York more times than I have fingers and toes, for wearing pants and a shirt.” She also added, “you had to have three pieces of female attire” to avoid getting arrested. This is known as the three-article-rule, it can be seen referenced in many of the police reports leading up to the Stonewall riots. 


On the night of June 28th police raided the bar and attacked its patrons. They arrested at least thirteen people, mostly drag queens/trans women and gay men of color. But this was nothing new, what made this day special is that this time the LGBT people began fighting back. FirstPost has stated, “At one point, an officer hit a lesbian over the head as he forced her into the police van— she shouted to onlookers to act, inciting the crowd to throw pennies, bottles, cobblestones, and other objects at the police.” There has been controversy within the queer community over who really started the uprising, but Marsha P. Johnson, a black trans activist, is rumored to have thrown the first brick. The crowd grew and the fighting escalated, the Stonewall Uprising lasted over five days. 


This was a turning point for LGBT rights. The way that the community banded together to defend themselves inspired people. The very first pride parade was to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. Thousands of people marched to Central Park starting at the Stonewall Inn. The tradition has spread like wildfire. Pride parades in June are now a global phenomenon. The Stonewall uprising is why we have pride, it was a pivotal point in queer history.