In the early hours of 28 June 1969, police raided a popular gay club in New York City. At the time, it was illegal for gay people to kiss, hold hands, or even dance together in public.
Officers arrested 13 people, strip searching and roughing up customers. It was not the first raid on the club, but constant social discrimination led regulars and local residents to fight back. Within minutes, a riot involving hundreds of people was taking place in the street. The riots lasted for five days.
A year later, in 1970, thousands of people gathered together in the streets of Manhattan to march from the Stonewall Inn to Central park. As they marched, they chanted, “Say it loud, gay is proud”. It was the first Gay Pride parade.
Today, June is still recognised as LGBTQ Pride Month as a tribute to Stonewall. Every summer, marches take place in over 150 cities across the globe. In 2019, over 5 million people gathered in New York for the 50th anniversary of the riots. The following year, Pride events around the world were cancelled as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. Many were moved online as a way to ensure an important sense of community.
Today, Pride is largely a celebration – a space to feel safe from prejudice and hatred, unified in diversity. But it is also a time to campaign for the millions around the world who are still persecuted for who they love and who they are.
How are you celebrating Pride this month?
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Watch this video for a detailed history of the pride movement in the US, and how the legacy of Stonewall gives hope to LGBT communities around the world.
- Without using a dictionary, write down your own definition of the following words: pride, love, equality.
- Make a banner, poster or board to take on a Pride march near you.
- Using this timeline, pick one event you find particularly interesting or inspiring. Do some further research and write a 500 word history of the event.