Every year in June, members of the LGBT+ community and their allies congregate around the world to celebrate love, acceptance, self-expression, and equal rights.
1. What is LGBT Pride Month?
According to the Library of Congress, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month is an international month-long series of celebrations held annually in June. Numerous pride events and parades are organised during this period to commemorate the impact that LGBT+ people have had worldwide.
2. How did Pride Month start?
June was chosen as the official Pride Month to honour the Stonewall Riots that were held by members of the LGBT community in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 28 1969. The protestors demanded an end to police harassment of the LGBT+ community and called for places where gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals could congregate without fear of arrest. These riots are widely regarded as the inspiration for the LGBT Rights Movement in the United States which was devoted to abolishing discrimination and violence against the LGBT+ community. This movement served to increase social awareness of these issues and led to the development of numerous LGBT+ activist groups, according to Human Rights Campaign, and Awareness Days UK.
The following year in June, the first Pride Marches were held to honour the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. These marches were the catalyst for the Pride Month events, festivals, concerts, and parades that are celebrated today. From 2009 to 2016 President Obama declared June as National Lesbian Gay Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month as a way to “celebrate the great diversity of the American people”.
3. Why is Pride Month still celebrated?
Pride Month events and parades are celebrations of the progress that has been made regarding LGBT+ rights. According to Equaldex, an LGBT+ rights website, 26 countries worldwide have legalised same-sex marriage, with many more countries offering legal protections against LGBT discrimination and recognising an individual’s right to change their legal gender.
In 2017, the United Nations appointed their first independent expert on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity who presented a report to the General Assembly outlining recommendations for achieving equal rights for LGBT+ individuals.
LGBT Pride Month is also about acknowledging the work that still needs to be done before LGBT+ individuals can achieve full equality worldwide. According to UN Free & Equal, a public information campaign promoting equal rights for LGBT+ individuals, more than a third of countries worldwide still criminalise same-sex relationships. Widespread negative attitudes and lack of legal protection continue to lead to discrimination against the LGBT+ community worldwide.
Pride Month encourages people worldwide to recognise these inequalities while also motivating everyone to continue to campaign for a world free of prejudice and discrimination against LGBT+ individuals.
4. How to get involved in Pride:
Australia has numerous Pride events year round. Visit the Australian Pride Network for a list of activities nationwide.
Pride is about acknowledging the determination and spirit of LGBT+ activists as well as celebrating diversity, love, and self-affirmation
Let’s continue to work together to achieve equality and fair treatment for all individuals regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.