One of the most empowering things you can do this Pride Month is to learn about your community and how we came to be today.
While Pride is a great chance for celebrating and protesting, it’s also a perfect opportunity to educate yourself and get clued up on why Pride exists.
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Here are some facts about the history of Pride to share with your friends.
1. Why we celebrate Pride in June
Let’s start with the fundamentals – why do we celebrate Pride in June?
Well, this month honors the 1969 Stonewall Uprising of Manhattan, a turning point for queer liberation in the United States. The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous protests by members of the LGBTQ community in response to a police raid on the Stonewall Inn during the early hours of the morning.
These events served as a catalyst for gay rights and freedoms, so much so that we now honor those who protested for the quality in the same month every year.
2. Trans women of color have always been a part of the movement
Transgender women of color were at the heart of the LGBTQ rights movement from the get-go. Sadly, these important people are often erased and the history of the Stonewall Riots is often white-washed.
But it’s important to remember those who made sacrifices so the community could thrive today. For example, Marsha P Johnson was a Black trans sex worker, drag queen and activist who started conversations on equality and advocated for the rights of LGBTQ POC. Sylvia Rivera also played a pivotal role in the Stonewall Uprising and is one of the reasons why many of us have freedom today.
3. How the rainbow flag was created
Do you know how the now-iconic rainbow flag started? It actually hasn’t been around for that long.
In 1978, Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician elected to office in California, asked his friend Gilbert Baker to create a symbol for the LGBTQ community, and he created multi-colored flags as a result. The flags were unveiled at San Francisco Pride that same year and demand quickly increased.
Their colors were then narrowed down from eight to six and the rainbow flags were displayed far and wide. Nowadays, we have several adaptations of the original flag to include all members of the community.
4. What the Pride flag colors mean
Each color on the Pride flag has a meaning. Pink represented sex, red represented life, orange represented healing, yellow represented sunlight, green represented nature, blue represented harmony, turquoise represented serenity, violet represented spirit. The pink color was removed following Harvey Milk’s assassination since there was a high demand for the flag but the hot pink fabric wasn’t available. But, the six-color version soon became universally loved.
5. Brenda Howard, the Mother of Pride
There are certain figures that Pride wouldn’t exist without. One of them is bisexual rights activist Brenda Howard, who is widely considered the Mother of Pride. She organized the first coordinated Liberation March on Christopher Street on 28th June 1970, exactly one year after Stonewall. Not only that, but she continued to plan week-long Pride parades and events which are still on the calendar today.