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What is Pride Month and why do we celebrate in June?

The global campaign to secure protection for LGBTQ+ rights across the world traces its roots back to the 1920s.
What is Pride Month and why do we celebrate in June?
Posted at 4:17 AM, Jun 12, 2023

Happy Pride Month!

While we are in the midst of celebrating it, have you ever wondered what exactly Pride Month is and why we celebrate it in June?

Well, we've got your answer. But first, let’s start with the basics.

LGBTQIA+ is an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and more. Often referred to as just  LGBTQ+.

Pride Month, also known as Gay Pride, spans an entire month and is dedicated to amplifying LGBTQ+ voices, celebrating the community and their culture, and advocating for their basic human rights.

During the month of June, colorful parades, protests, drag performances, live theater, and memorials take place across the United States and in some parts of the world as a commemoration of the long-standing struggle for civil rights and the continued pursuit of equal justice under the law for the community throughout the years.

But why is it celebrated in June?

The global campaign to secure protection for LGBTQ+ rights across the world traces its roots back to the 1920s, with many countries across the world making homosexuality and homosexual acts illegal. 

In the United States, in the 1950s and '60s, homosexuality — more specifically, homosexual acts — became illegal in almost every U.S. state.

On June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn, a popular gathering spot for gay men, lesbians, and transgender individuals in Manhattan, was subject to a police raid. Police assaulted customers and arrested 13 people, some for illegally selling alcohol (many bars were still operating without liquor licenses then) and others for violating New York's gender-appropriate clothing statute.

The crowd outside, observing as the bar's patrons were corralled into police cars, grew increasingly furious and started a riot, throwing bottles, cobble stones, and other objects at the police, forcing the police to take refuge inside the bar until backup arrived.

Hundreds of people joined the riot, which continued intermittently for the next few days outside the bar. These events, known as the Stonewall Riots or Stonewall Uprising, served as a catalyst for the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

While originally designated as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month by President Bill Clinton on June 11, 1999, it was later proclaimed Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month by President Barack Obama in 2014.

However, the battle is not over, and today more than ever, the community is taking this holiday to advocate for their rights as approximately 491 anti-LGBTQ+ legislative proposals are currently circulating in the U.S., according to the ACLU.

SEE MORE: The history and meaning of the most popular LGBTQ+ Pride flags

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