Surprisingly, many people who partake in Pride Celebrations do not know much about Gay Pride History in itself. Knowing the history behind something gives you all the more reason to celebrate it and be proud of what you’re partaking in. Here are some key facts about pride!
1. Pride truly began due to the Stonewall Riots
The Stonewall Inn was a bar in New York that was often frequented by members of the LGBTQ+ community. Homosexuality was still classified as a “mental illness”, and people were subjected to inhumane treatment if they were caught. For this reason, the police often raided the aforementioned bar. However, the community decided they had had enough, and on June 28, 1969, days of riots ensued when the police tried to enter the bar, and thus began the protection and celebration of the LGBTQ+ community!
2. Pride has a “Mother”, and her name is Brenda Howard
Arguably the most important person in the push of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, Brenda Howard is often referred to as the “Mother of Pride”. She planned and partook in many rallies for rights throughout the years, significantly helping the community which she herself was a part of. She was a member of the Gay Liberation Front, among being active in several other associations. She has been dubbed the “Mother of Pride” for her part in organizing the first rally to coordinate the previously mentioned Stonewall riots. Brenda defines a lot of what Gay Pride History is all about.
3. Each colour in the Pride Flag has a unique meaning
The flag was carefully thought out, and when it was designed by Gilbert Baker, it was made so that every colour represents something. Red represents life, orange represents healing, yellow represents sunshine, green represents nature, blue represents harmony and purple represents spirit. The flag originated at the Gay Freedom Day Parade in San Francisco, and is now the embodiment of pride in and of itself. It is commonly used to represent the community, and is a staple in learning about Gay Pride History.
4. Prior to the Stonewall Riots, there were still Pride Celebrations
Before the marches that commemorated the Stonewall riots, there was marches and parades that occurred every year, dubbed the “Annual Reminders”. They occurred at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, a central location in the city, in order to serve as a reminder of the hardships endured by the LGBTQ+ community. They then proceeded to merge with the rest of the pride events afterwards. These events are central to Gay Pride History.
5. There was another name before “Gay Pride”
Prior to the coining of the term Gay Pride, which is now the most commonly used term, the marches and events were referred to as “Gay Liberation” or “Freedom”. Times changed, and eventually the term “Pride” turned into the common phrase used to talk about the events. The change is usually attributed to changes in culture & the perspective from the community that occurred over time.
6. There is a Lesbian March every year, referred to as the “Dyke March”
The first Dyke March originated in New York City, and now occurs every year in all kinds of different cities around the world. The purpose of this march is to encourage activism within the lesbian community, and thousands upon thousands of individuals partake in this marches, which usually occur a couple days before the start of Pride. The first march took place in 1993, and they’ve been going strong ever since. These marches are a key aspect of Gay Pride History.
7. Only 2 Presidents in U.S. History have acknowledge Pride
Honestly, this is just sad. As of now, the only 2 presidents in U.S. history to publicly acknowledge pride have been Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Obama actually went so far as to sign a proclamation each year of his term, and was an activist for the rights of all people, regardless of sexuality.
8. The original Pride Flag had 8 colours
The original Pride Flag isn’t the one that is such a common symbol of the LGBTQ+ community today. It actually had 8 colours: the original ones on the current flag, as well as the colours pink and turquoise. Pink represented sexual liberation and the turquoise represents Native Americans and the magic of life. They were removed due to manufacturing constraints at the time.
9. The Gay Pride Flag had a Guinness World Record
For the 25th anniversary of the Gay Rights Movement, the creator of the flag was asked to create a massive flag, that actually held a Guinness World Record for largest flag for a while. The flag was a mile long, and was an absolute feat to produce.
10. There was another Gay Pride Symbol before the flag
Prior to the flag being the common representation of the LGBTQ+ community, the Greek symbol “lamda” was originally used. It was the sign of the Gay Activist Alliance. Many people actually do not know that there even was a symbol before the flag.