The Pride festival (also called pride marches/ pride events/ pride parades) is the most popular stage for showcasing the pride of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) group. This is an outdoor event where people belonging to the LGBTQ community come out to celebrate their existence, their acceptance in the society and achievement of legal rights. Generally, pride events occur annually in the month of June.
The very first incident which led to the pride festival took place long back in the year 1969. There was a gay club in downtown Manhattan named ‘Stonewall Inn’ where the police used to raid every now and then. On 28th June 1969 the patrons of the club also fought back and a riot broke out amongst the community members and the police. This happened 45 years ago and led to the beginning of the gay rights movement which later became a massive movement for the whole LGBT group.
Read this article from CNN to know some fast facts about LGBT rights milestones.
The first-ever Pride parade in the U.S history took place on 28th June 1970, exactly after one of the Stonewall riot. The parade was from Greenwich Village to Central Park. They had named the parade as “Christopher Street Liberation Day March” as the Stonewall Inn was located at Christopher Street. The parade was done to mark the first anniversary of the Stonewall riot. Very soon, the parades started occurring in other cities like Los Angeles.
Mother of Pride:
A bisexual activist named Brenda Howard is known as the “Mother of Pride”. She was born to a Jewish family on 24th December 1946 in New York. She graduated with an AAS degree in Nursing from Borough of Manhattan Community College. She was actively involved in the anti-war movement in the late 1960s and then became a member of the Gay Liberation Front. She became 1960s for her significant work in planning the first LGBT pride march in 1970. It was her idea to celebrate the Pride day with events happening for a week. The first pride march was such a successful event for the LGBTQ community that they called her “Mother of Pride”. She succumbed to cancer on 28th June 2005.
Pride festivals/ parades have always been an integral occasion of the LGBTQ community. Over time, those parades have evolved into merriment, where the LGBT community can cheer up, enjoy and display themselves without any hesitant. Apart from this there are even big reasons why this festival is to date.
- Like every other festival, this is also important: Festival keeps us connected to the society with life in. By participating in a festival we demonstrate that we are part of society. Same way, LGBTQ community also wants to be accepted in the society and their festival acts as the connecting wire.
- Demonstrate their unity and strength: LGBTQ community can showcase their unity and strength during their festival like we do when we are celebrating ours. People who share the same feeling would feel encouraged and strong knowing that there are a huge number of people in the society who has the same feeling as theirs.
- Celebrate their existence: Through the pride parades, they portray their happiness of existence, so that the society doesn’t dare to shame them and accept them as a human being.
- Normalizing their existence: People still today give you that look when they hear the terms like, ‘bisexual’, homosexual, transgender. The parades aim at normalizing this fact. They want people to be familiar with such terms and not look down upon them.
- Be an inspiration: We may be modern in many ways still our thought processes towards a few things have not developed. Hence, many gay, lesbian, people hesitate to come out and mix with us. The parades are held to inspire them and ask them to come out of the nutshell.
- Lack of equal opportunity: The parades are necessary now and maybe necessary for the coming years as well to get equality in every aspect. The people of the community have to face hurdles at different point of time. So there are lots of works to be done and to get that done, the parades would be required as this is the time when they can raise their voice.
- For fun and enjoyment: Round the year someone or the other from the LGBTQ community gets bullied and not everyone is capable of fighting or answering back. However, this time of the year, they forget their sorrows and enjoy with their fellow people. Generally, the celebration goes on for a week and during this time, they all see to be brightened and full of life. This the biggest reason for the parades to be continued in the coming years.
- Visibility: Parades also increases the visibility of the community. When their visibility increases, they would be heard and their requests would be answered quickly and efficiently by the Government. It would also help them to gain public support.
- Build a brand: The parades would help the community to build a brand name in society. And when you are a brand, you get famous and people are inquisitive to know more about you and get attached to you. This would help the community to get their work done easily.
Latest LGBTQ event in 2019
The latest LGBTQ event was held on June 2019 at New York. It was named as “Stonewall 50 – WorldPride NYC 2019 as it marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riot. The celebrations went on for the entire month of June and there were series of LGBTQ events. This was the first time that this event was organized in the United States and the estimated number of the gathering was five million. The parade went on for twelve hours.
Looking at all the facts mentioned above, we now get an idea as to why the Pride parades are so important for the LGBTQ community. The Parade speaks about the progress that the community has made and also reminds them that there is more work to be done so that in the coming years, no one can call them a stranger or an alien. The community is waiting for that day when they would be granted equal rights and opportunity in society.