Photo Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

LGBTQ+ pride is a movement which aim to promote the self affirmation, dignity and equality for people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and many more. Today, Pride March is seen as a celebration of identity which is carried out every June and is recognized internationally - however, it has not always been so.

In this article, we will be diving into the history of the Pride movement, how it came to be, the reasons behind its iconic rainbow flag and several prominent figures in the Pride community.

Origin of Pride Month

Photo Credit: Biography News

In the early morning hours of June 28th, 1969 , police raided the Stonewall Inn - a popular gay bar in NYC’s West Village. This was not the first time a raid was conducted by police in an effort to intimidate the gay community at the time, in fact, several other raids were conducted quite regularly in the inn. However, on that fateful day, the patrons of the bar fought back, igniting the start of what is known as the Stonewall Riots which lasted for four days.

Marsha P.Johnson - a black trans woman was often credited for throwing the first punch. She was celebrating her 25th birthday when the raid happened and quickly became one of the prominent figures in the LGBTQ+ community against the police at the time. She along with several of her friends were fierce fighter for transgender rights until her death, supposedly ruled under suicide at just 46 years old.

Despite Marsha’s untimely death and the lack of progress made at the time of the riot, the legacy of the incident lives on with The Stonewall Inn declared a historic landmark by the city of New York in 2015 and later named a national monument by President Barack Obama in 2016.

Origin of the Pride Flag

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The Pride flag (or the rainbow flag as many would describe it) was created by artist Gilbert Baker in 1978. In the iconic six colored flag, red symbolizes life, orange for spirit, yellow for sunshine, green for nature, blue for harmony and purple for spirit. In the original eight-color flag, hot pink was included to represent sex and turquoise to represent magic or art. In addition, its multi-colored nature can also be interpreted as the diverse nature of the transgender community, where people can come from all different backgrounds.

The flag also saw several alterations and changes throughout the years, with the most recent changes happening in 2021 where black was added which represent diversity, brown to represent inclusivity in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Photo Credit: Independent News

In addition to the rainbow-like flags, there are several other flags and variations that are use to represent a specific subgroup of the Pride community, notably: the Social Justice Pride Flag, the Estêvão Romane 2018 nine-stripe flag, the American-styled Pride flag, the Pansexual flag, the Intersex flag and so much more.

Prominent LGBTQ+ Icon

There are several gay icons that have played prominent roles in supporting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community including celebrities and scientists like Judy Garland, Freddie Mercury, Sir Elton John, David Bowe, Alan Turing and much more. (keep an eye out for our who-is series featuring these figures !)

So there you have it ! A very brief history of what PRIDE is about. While it might not seem like much, the very action of you having completed this article to educate yourself is very awesome. By continuing to educate yourself on the topic and spreading the words to all your friends and families, we can one-step-at-a-time combat the many stigma unfairly associated with the LGBTQ + community.