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June is National Pride Month. Here is The History of the Pride Celebration. By Our Student Pharmacist, Stephanie VanHouten.

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As many of you may know, June is national Pride month! Pride celebrations across America continue to grow every year with more and more allies joining in on the fun.

And why not?

With Pride comes a colorful parade, joyful music, great performances, delicious food and drinks, lively celebration, and so much fun in the park – including plenty of kid-friendly activities.

But, do you know the history behind this yearly nationwide event? Let’s take a look at why we celebrate Pride with a parade in June across the country every year.

Pride was born from the Stonewall Riots of 1969. These riots marked the beginning of LGTBQ liberation in the United States.

In America in the 1950’s, homosexuality was classified as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. Both socially and politically, it was considered wrong to be gay. LGTBQ people were often targeted in many unfortunate ways, some lawful, some not.

In general, the social climate towards homosexuality was extremely intolerant and very few establishments welcomed openly gay individuals throughout the 50’s and 60’s. From this exclusion, the need for private gay clubs, bars, restaurants, etc. was born.

However, since there was also no political protection for the LGTBQ community, police often raided these gay-friendly establishments. One such raid, the morning of June 28, 1969, was on the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, New York. This police raid is what began protesting, rioting, and general uprising from the Greenwich Village community (mainly consisting of marginalized LGQTB people) that lasted off and on for several days. This uprising began the movement of LGTBQ people to organize. From this, two LGTBQ activist organizations were formed in New York City.

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The following year on June 28, 1970, the first parades to commemorate the raid and subsequent riots were held in cities across the nation, including New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and LA. The participants chanted, “Say it clear, say it loud! Gay is good, gay is proud!”

Thus, the tradition of Pride in June was born.

Thankfully, we have come a long way from the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Now we celebrate openly and with pride (hence the name!). But it is important that we look back and remember the history of Pride, not only to honor those brave activists rioting in the streets for our liberation, but also so history will not repeat itself.

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots! We are celebrating Pride in Downton Columbus the weekend of June 14-16 and all are welcome! Highlights include RuPaul’s Drag Race superstar Nina West as the grandmaster of the parade the morning of June 15 and the Pride Festival immediately following in Bicentennial Park.

If you attend, please don’t forget why we celebrate! We celebrate the right for LGTBQ people to exist peacefully in society, without fear of hate, intolerance, or injustice.

We celebrate to remember the Stonewall Riots.

Also, don’t forget to wear sunscreen! I hope to see you there!

 

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