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A Month Of Pride (by Private)

In many parts of the world, Pride is celebrated in June, with parades, marches, seminars and concerts. The reason why June is the main month associated with Pride is that it was in June, more specifically on the 28th of June 1969, that the Stonewall uprising took place. The Stonewall uprising was a pivotal moment in the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States, and sparked the formation of broader alliances fighting for the rights of LGBTQ+ people. The Stonewall uprising began as a response to a police raid conducted at a bar called Stonewall Inn, located in Greenwich Village – a neighbourhood in Manhattan, New York. The Stonewall Inn was an important meeting place for people of LGBTQ+ community, not least because they were often not welcome at “regular” establishments catering to the heterosexual majority. At the time, the Stonewall Inn was run by the Mafia, who believed they could profit from providing a space for people who were otherwise shut out from the mainstream bar and club scene. The Stonewall Inn had patrons from all walks of life, but was known to be popular with the poorest and most marginalised people in the LGBTQ+ community.

During the 1950s and -60s, both the FBI and police departments kept lists of people suspected of being lesbian or gay, including information about where they spent their free time and who their friends were. State and local governments followed suit, by attempting to “clear out” all lesbian and gay people from their cities' neighbourhoods. One common way of doing this was having the police raid bars with LGBTQ+ patronage and arrest the customers, before exposing them in the media. These raids occurred frequently all over the country, and resulted in the shutting down of several bars catering to LGBTQ+ people in the neighbourhood of Greenwich Village alone. It was in this context that the Stonewall uprising took place on that fateful day in June, 51 years ago. In the late evening of the 27th, four police officers had entered the Stonewall Inn to “gather evidence”, before announcing the raid an hour after midnight on Saturday, 28th of June. The raid was similar to raids conducted at the bar several times before, with one important exception: This time people fought back. The standard procedure during a raid was to have the patrons line up, before checking IDs and verifying the sex of those dressed as female. Those whose dress and appearance did not match their biological sex were arrested. The rest were allowed to leave. However, this time, people did not leave. More than 100 people who had walked out the front doors of the bar congregated outside, watching as the police loaded those arrested into police wagons. While spirits were initially high, the crowd soon began to grow hostile, as rumours about people being beating by police officers inside the bar began to flourish.

In the midst of this, a woman in handcuffs who was being escorted out from the bar ended up in a scuffle with several police officers, who at one point hit her in the head with a baton for resisting. This woman, whose identity remains unknown (she has however been identified by some as activist Stormé DeLarverie), has been credited with encouraging the gathered crowd to fight back, by shouting “Why don't you guys do something?”. Sure enough, the commotion soon began to grow, resulting in the police attempting to restrain the crowd that was becoming increasingly agitated. Beer cans and pennies were thrown at the police, who had clearly been outnumbered by more than 500 people. In response, the police started grabbing people, while ten police officers barricaded themselves inside the Stonewall Inn for their own safety. People soon started throwing bottles and other objects at the building, and setting garbage on fire. A man named Michael Fader, who participated in the uprising, or what some consider can be more accurately described as a spontaneous demonstration, has said that “We all had a collective feeling like we'd had enough of this kind of shit. (…) There was something in the air, freedom a long time overdue, and we're going to fight for it”. This quote neatly captures how many of those who participated are likely to have felt about the events of the night.

At around 4 o'clock in the morning, the streets had mostly been cleared of people. Earlier on, the Tactical Patrol Force (TPF) from the police department had arrived to free the police officers who had locked themselves inside the bar. Outside, the TPF attempted to push back the crowd by marching in formation. The crowd effectively ignored this effort, instead forming impromptu kicklines while singing an anthem. The police responded to this with violence, using their batons to fend off the protestors. The police ended up being outsmarted by the crowd, who ran away from them, just to appear behind them the next moment. Eventually, the commotion started dying down, but this would not be the end of the uprising. The following evening, the Stonewall Inn opened again, gathering a large number of supporters chanting slogans such as “gay power” and “we shall overcome”. In response, the TPF beat some of those who had gathered and used tear gas on the crowd. During the following days, the Stonewall Inn became an important place for activists to gather, to spread information and build up a community that would later become influential in campaigning for LGBTQ+ rights.

Those who participated in the protests may or may not have known it at the time, but the happenings during those final days in June 1969 would come to have a lasting impact on the efforts to end the oppression of people in the LGBTQ+ community. Even today, the Stonewall uprising carries an important symbolic value, as an emblem of resistance and people fighting back against injustice. It was in this spirit that the first instances of what would later become known as Pride happened in 1970, on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. On Saturday, 27th June 1970, the first ever Pride march was held in New York, drawing a crowd of at least 3000 people. Smaller scale manifestations had been held prior to this, but the inaugural Pride march was the first of its kind, taking on a more activistic stance, demanding the liberation of LGBTQ+ people. The coordination of the march was done by activist Brenda Howard, who has become known as the “Mother of Pride” for her contributions to the Pride movement. Apart from in New York, a Pride march was also held in Chicago that day, and in Los Angeles the following day. Due to the success of these marches, the concept soon spread to other cities both within and outside the United States. Already the following year, Pride marches were held in cities such as Paris, London, (West) Berlin and Stockholm, and now, 50 years later, Pride is celebrated in various forms all over the world.

A photo from the first ever Pride march in New York 1970.

In many places, Pride is mostly associated with huge parades including floats, music and thousands of people dressed in colourful costumes, holding banners and waving flags, congregating in the streets to celebrate. Some notable examples of large-scale Pride parades are those held in New York, Madrid and Cologne. The largest Pride march to ever have taken place was held in New York last year, attracting a crowd of over five million people gathering to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. While Pride today is largely associated with colourful celebrations, in many cases, Pride also serves as a place for activism, especially in locations where there is less acceptance towards LGBTQ+ people. This has clear connections to the early Pride marches, which were often activistic in nature, demanding liberation from oppression through overt demonstrations of resistance. It is important to remember this history, and to realise that we still have a very long way to go in achieving liberation of LGBTQ+ people. That said, visibility is in itself a very important part of Pride, which is why the colourful parades all over the world are very much needed. In times where there is a growing hostility towards people in the LGBTQ+ community, it is even more important that we stand united against all forms of hatred and discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.

Although most parades and marches have been cancelled this year due to the current circumstances in the world, this does not mean that the celebrations and the activism is gone. Many have chosen to go online, for example through an initiative known as Global Pride, which will be celebrated digitally on the 27th of June this year. While there probably will not be many, or even any, chances to go out in the streets for Pride this year, I am hopeful that we will be back again next year, celebrating and continuing the fight for equal rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Happy Pride Month everyone!

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Callum wrote on 18-06 17:30:
Callum wrote:
omg i love the scrollbar! a nice read too
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TheWayfaringStranger wrote on 18-06 17:29:
TheWayfaringStranger wrote:
This is great. Happy pride, everyone!
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TogetherForever wrote on 18-06 01:09:
TogetherForever wrote:
The layout is AMAZING!!! It was an amazing read
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LiyaNisa wrote on 18-06 00:16:
LiyaNisa wrote:
OMG, thank you so much for such a layout!!! 💕
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Adtrfan wrote on 17-06 16:58:
Adtrfan wrote:
happy pride month! absolutely in love with this page!
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Private wrote on 17-06 12:58:
AlyaOnesse wrote:
That was really nice to read! And the layout is SO WHOLESOME!  Bi respectful, nobody is perfect but we're beautiful! 
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Themis wrote on 17-06 06:32:
Themis wrote:
this page is so pretty T~T
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Lulou wrote on 17-06 04:44:
Lulou wrote:
Stay gay chicks 
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PrettyGoGo wrote on 16-06 19:27:
PrettyGoGo wrote:
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Private wrote on 16-06 15:09:
Rosa wrote:
We're here, we're queer 
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Beyondeternal wrote on 16-06 15:05:
Beyondeternal wrote:
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Private wrote on 16-06 14:03:
Meowmere wrote:
the layout omg!!
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Private wrote on 16-06 14:03:
BloomCissi wrote:
I'm really glad to see so many of you liked the article!
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Ozeana wrote on 16-06 09:25:
Ozeana wrote:
I love the layout. And look at the colour of the comments!! 
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Tamako wrote on 16-06 06:47:
Tamako wrote:
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SweetLapis wrote on 15-06 23:59:
SweetLapis wrote:
Very informative.
Also, the layout is beautiful 
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Private wrote on 15-06 23:03:
Amren wrote:
This is so interesting to read, you wrote a great article Bloom ^-^

And I hope everyone enjoys the rainbows hehe, I may have gone overboard but shhhh
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Krystle wrote on 15-06 22:31:
Krystle wrote:
Very well written and informative article and omg the layout is beautiful !! 
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Private wrote on 15-06 22:02:
Ella wrote:
These comment colors might be the best thing i have ever seen, please can we keep em
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Private wrote on 15-06 22:01:
Era wrote:
Era wrote:
Also, the amazing text by our BloomCissi   I live for this whole article 
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Private wrote on 15-06 22:01:
Ella wrote:
These comment colors might be the best thing i have ever seen, please can we keep em
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Private wrote on 15-06 22:00:
Era wrote:
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Cimorene wrote on 15-06 20:50:
Cimorene wrote:
This was a really interesting and well-written article, and the layout is absolutely stunning! <3
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Private wrote on 15-06 20:13:
Azriel wrote:
Oh dear lord the comments
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Private wrote on 15-06 20:10:
Rochellette wrote:
So beautiful layout
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Private wrote on 15-06 20:09:
Archangel wrote:
Amren omg you did so good with this layout!! Love it so much <3 

Happy pride everyone!
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Heaven wrote on 15-06 20:05:
Heaven wrote:
damn this layout slaps
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Kaaos wrote on 15-06 20:05:
Kaaos wrote:
Holy shit this layout is adorable!! <3
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Atencia wrote on 15-06 20:02:
Atencia wrote:
Important and well written article, stunning layout. Love this! ❤️
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Private wrote on 15-06 19:59:
Saekki wrote:
Love everything about this
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Private wrote on 15-06 19:51:
Emiliaaaaaaa wrote:
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Private wrote on 15-06 19:43:
Nanevane wrote:
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RATGORE wrote on 15-06 19:41:
RATGORE wrote:
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Abby wrote on 15-06 19:39:
Abby wrote:
ohh this is really a great article, also love the design of it, happy pride month! 
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Private wrote on 15-06 19:37:
CheerGirl wrote:
Love this!! Thank you for the informative article, and beautiful layout!! (l)
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Libertas wrote on 15-06 19:33:
Libertas wrote:
Amren you totally snapped with this layout, I'm living for it!!! 

Amazing text as always Bloom 
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Private wrote on 15-06 19:31:
BloomCissi wrote:
Happy Pride Month! 

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