Pride Month commemorates the Stonewall Riots, which took place on June 28th, 1969. This transformative event in LGBTQIA+ history involved many protests made by the queer community in response to the police raids that occurred at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. Being in a homosexual relationship was an illegal act in New York City at this time, and many queer people found refuge in gay bars where they could socialise in a space that was relatively safe. However, as occurred on that night in June, police would frequently subject these bars to harassment. The Stonewall Riots were a significant catalyst that spurred the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights in the United States and across the world.
I would like to acknowledge and pay my respects to two incredible leaders of this movement, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. That night, these trans women of colour set the trajectory for LGBTQIA+ rights by putting their lives on the line for the recognition, respect and liberation of the community. To end persecution, to end fear, and to find love. We would not have what we have today without them.
A year after the Stonewall Riots occurred, on June 28th, 1970, the first gay pride marches were held in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Now, Pride Month can be seen celebrated in June all over the world, recognising the meaningful impact that has been made by so many members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
As a queer, non-binary person, this community has had such a profound impact on who I am and how I experience the world today. I owe a lot to those who came before me and those I surround myself with today. I take this time to reflect on everyone who has and continues to suffer at the hands of prejudice, who want to be their true selves but are unsafe to do so, and those who have fought with everything they have for queer rights. Although this world has come so far, we still have an immensely long way to go.
Learn more about Stonewall and Pride in these books and films: