What is Gay Pride?

Image Credits: Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

June is Pride month! It’s when the US and many other parts of the world come together to celebrate and support the LGBTQIA+ community. Whether you identify as a part of the community or are just an ally, everyone’s invited to join the celebration of love.

But if you’re unfamiliar with what Gay Pride is and how you can celebrate it, we’re here to help! Here’s everything you need to know about Pride and how you can join the celebration.

What is Pride?

LGBT Pride or Gay Pride promotes the self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, non-binary, non-conforming, and pansexual persons as anyone else who doesn’t necessarily fit into cisgender and heteronormative boxes. In fact, the term “pride” is used to counter the feelings of shame and guilt, as well as the stigma that has been historically attached to LGBTQIA+ identifying people.

Simply put, Pride is a celebration of LGBTQIA+ identity, and the acknowledgement and celebration of loving who you want to love, no matter how you express your gender.

When and Why Did Pride Month Start?

The modern LGBTQIA+ rights movement is believed to have begun as a response to the Stonewall Riots that occurred in New York, in 1969. Stonewall Inn was one of the most popular gay bars in Greenwich Village and in the early hours of one June morning, cops raided and detained people for practicing drag or wearing clothes that didn’t match their perceived gender at the time.

Although raids on gay bars were common practice back then, this one was unique in that it sparked rioting. The LGBTQIA+ people started fighting back against police violence for three nights. The Stonewall Riots not only sparked LGBTQIA+ activism in the United States, but they also gave birth to Pride.

Why is it important to celebrate Pride Month?

Despite all the progress towards the acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community, we’re still a long, long way from complete inclusivity and equality. There are still 70 countries that have laws criminalising homosexuality, and we need to continue fighting for their right, not only to exist, but also feel safe and celebrate who they are and who they love without shame.

Here are some more statistics highlighting the dicrimination faced by the queer community as reported by the ILGA WORLD (The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans And Intersex Association):

  • The death penalty for same-sex relationships is either ‘allowed’, or evidence of its existence occurs, in 11 countries.
  • In more than half the world, LGBTQIA+ people may not be protected from discrimination by workplace law.
  • Most governments deny trans people the right to legally change their name and gender from those that were assigned to them at birth.
  • A quarter of the world’s population believes that being LGBT should be a crime.

How Can I Celebrate Pride Month?

When we think of Pride month, we immediately think of rainbow flags and parades. And while it’s great to attend a parade and celebrate with the community, it’s important to engage in ways that can make a lasting impact and contribute to the fight towards inclusivity.

  1. Educate yourself and those around you

Spend some time learning about the history of Pride: what started it, who were the pioneers who fought to make Pride what it is today and why it still continues to be important after decades of fighting.

  1. Support Queer artists and culture

Support and learn about the LGBTQIA+ art community by watching an LGBTQIA+-themed show or movie, visiting an LGBTQIA+ art gallery, or buying an album from an LGBTQIA+ artist.

  1. Support business owned by the LGBTQIA+ community

Businesses owned by the queer community have a tough time sustaining and growing. Take Pride month as an opportunity to shop local and support these small businesses owned by the LGBTQIA+ community.

  1. Finally, celebrate even after Pride month ends

Pride is about accepting, supporting and celebrating love, so whether it’s attending a parade, supporting a queer business or reading LGBT lit, it can all be done on any day of the year. So, don’t forget to celebrate even after the month of June.

Happy Pride, everyone! :)


Radhika Shenoy