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June is Pride month. Throughout this month I have seen and shared a number of posts celebrating the month and the queer community. However, I have also seen posts against the queer community and saying they don't understand why we feel the need to celebrate Pride. They provide a number of reasons for what they think; they think it is about queer's shoving sex in other's faces, about a sense of superiority, or any other number of assumptions. The truth is, these assumptions are incorrect. Pride is not about any of these things, although some people who participate likely feel these. However, Pride is part of a bigger picture.
The first Pride Parade occurred in June of 1970. Do you know why they chose June? To commemorate the Stonewall Riots which had occurred in Greenwich Village just one year before. These riots were a reaction to the ongoing police raids of gay bars and the arrests of patrons. These raids, while done under the guise of legal reasons, were undoubtedly targeting gay bars, the few places queer individuals could go and be around those like them without judgment or discrimination. However, there was a concerted legal effort to destroy these safe spaces, to further alienate the queer community from itself and prevent its further growth.
The queer community had had enough, and on June 28th, 1969, the Stonewall Riots broke out at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, led by trans women of color mind you. This is considered by many the turning point of the gay liberation movement. In the aftermath, there was a push to bring all queer individuals into a cohesive community. The first two gay activist organizations were created in New York, and three newspapers were also founded. This was the beginning of the LGBTQIA+ community as we know it today. And exactly one year after these riots occurred, the first Pride Parades were held across the country in order to call for the protection of queer rights.
The relationship between Pride and the queer community is so much more than the constant barrage of assumptions about the movement. To me, a bisexual polyamorous individual, Pride represents the fight for rights in the past and the constant push forward for further recognition of our rights. Pride is not about flaunting my sexuality. Pride is not about rubbing in your face what I do in my bedroom. Pride is not even trying to say that I am better than you because I am queer. Pride is about none of these things.
The first Pride Parade called for protection of queer rights. Today, they are held for the same reasons, but also more. They are a celebration of the rights we have obtained, but also a call for more protections, further protections, the protections any citizen who is straight or assumed straight is automatically afforded. It is a celebration of our identities and how they bring us together, but also to call attention to how the world often holds us apart. And that is why this year I will be attending New York Pride. I hope after reading this you maybe reconsider your view on Pride and recognize that it is more than what you believe.