Why Do We Celebrate Pride In June? Stonewall Riots & Fighting For LGBTQ Rights

11 June 2020, 14:32 | Updated: 11 June 2020, 15:25

Why do we celebrate Pride in June and when did it begin?
Why do we celebrate Pride in June and when did it begin? Picture: Getty Images

Pride month is here once again, so why do we celebrate the LGBTQ community every June, when did it begin, and what for?

It's officially Pride month, although it might look like a slightly different take on the month than usual- but for LGBTQ people and allies around the world, the rights of the community continue to be fought for, reflected on and taught, arguably harder than ever before.

This year's carnivals and public celebrations may have been cancelled across the world due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn't mean there aren't countless different ways to mark the occasion, so why do we celebrate Pride in June, and when did it start?

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Why do we celebrate Pride in June?

The Stonewall Inn- New York City
The Stonewall Inn- New York City. Picture: Getty

We celebrate Pride in June because that's when the catalyst for the international gay rights movement was born, which started in New York in 1969 with the Stonewall Riots or Stonewall Uprising, a series of violent demonstrations on behalf of the LGBT community in response to police harassment that lasted six days.

Police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, on June 28, 1969, when members of the LGBT community fought back against them, which quickly turned into a violent riot that subsequently birthed the gay rights movement.

In 1969 the solicitation of homosexual acts was illegal in the city (and many other places) and gay bars were one of the few places of refuge where the community could socialise with ease- but were often subject to police harassment.

Upon the police raiding the bar due to it reportedly not having a liquor licence they arrested its employees and took several customers into custody- with a large and angry crowd quickly assembling outside, jeering the police as they forced people into vans.

A scuffle which broke out as they struggled with one woman is strongly rumoured to have sparked the outburst in violence, who is said to have asked the crowd, "Why don't you guys do something?"

When people gathered to celebrate the one year anniversary from the momentous uprising, with people assembling in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, these were the first Gay Pride marches in U.S. history.

When is UK Pride?

The first ever UK pride was a London-based gay pride event held in London on 1 July 1972 (chosen as the nearest Saturday to the anniversary of the Stonewall riots of 1969) with approximately 2000 participants.

These days, every major city in the UK has its own pride march, with LGBTQ communities as well as straight people taking to the streets to shine a light on both how far we've come in terms of LGBTQ rights- and how far we still have to go!

So, UK and worldwide Pride is happening right now- and if you're looking for ways to get involved, there are some great grassroots charities out there, for example, the infamous Stonewall!

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