Whether you saw something about Pride Month through a social media post or walked by an LGBTQ+ dedicated section in a department store, you have likely heard of it. Most people know Pride Month takes place every year during June. This is true even for those who do not identify as LGBTQ+.
You may be wondering, why June? That’s a great question. June wasn’t declared Pride Month at random, there is a meaningful reason behind it. If you are curious about the purpose of Pride Month and the importance of June, keep on reading.
Why is Pride Month celebrated in June?The reason Pride Month takes place in June goes back to 1969. On June 28th of that year, the New York City’s Stonewall riots began. This started when police raided the gay club, Stonewall Inn. As police aggressively took employees and patrons out of the club, a riot began. People fought back, and nearly a week of protesting followed.
The gay rights movement began long before the Stonewall Riots, but this helped launch a bigger fight for LGBTQ+ rights. At this time, gay bars were frequently raided. These places were one of the few spots LGBTQ+ people could hang out and be the most authentic versions of themselves. Experiencing this treatment regularly and witnessing the police’s actions that day was enough.
On June 28th, 1970, the first pride march took place. This became the first Gay Pride Week thanks to the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee. LGBTQ+ Pride has been celebrated during June ever since.
June was officially declared Gay and Lesbian Pride Month in 2000 by President Bill Clinton. During this Presidential Proclamation, he advocated for LGBTQ+ rights and shed light on the discrimination this community often faces.
Nine years later, June was transformed into National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month by President Barack Obama. Obama explained there was more work to do on behalf of this community, and stressed the importance of creating a world where people don’t live in fear. Everyone deserves to feel loved and respected.
What is the purpose of Pride Month?While it is great to carry a sense of pride each day of the year, it can often be challenging for those who identify somewhere under the LGBTQ+ umbrella to feel this way. In a world that often wants LGBTQ+ individuals to dim their light, it is important to have time set aside throughout the year that reminds us of the past and inspires love and acceptance going forward.
Pride Month exists to commemorate the Stonewall riots and honor LGBTQ+ individuals who have passed, whether that be through hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. It is also a time when people are encouraged to celebrate who they are. People rock pride clothes to festivals and proudly wave or display their pride flags.
Pride Month is honored with events like concerts, parades, parties, and more. During this time, there is an increase in LGBTQ+ content on social media and television. It is a time of increased visibility and representation. LGBTQ+ voices are uplifted in June, and people get a chance to learn about this community.