On 28 June 1969, LGBTQ people in New York initiated the violent Stonewall Riots to protest against the discrimination they faced as a community. They are often identified as the turning point in LGBTQ history as they led to the start of the gay liberation movement. A year later, on its anniversary, gay pride marches – the first of their kind – took place in four cities across the United States. Eventually, the movement grew and countries all around the world began to organise pride marches towards the end of June to commemorate the riots. Consequently, June came to be known as Pride month, with everyone wanting in on the action.
On 24 June 2016, the area around Stonewall Inn was declared a U.S. national monument, the first to have queer significance. In June of this year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled the first LGBT Memorial in the U.S. This memorial will be placed in New York’s Hudson River Park and will be designed by Anthony Goicolea, a Brooklyn-based artist. The Governor established the LGBT Memorial Commission last year after the Orlando Pulse shooting which targeted 49 LGBTQ people.
This is only one example of the way June is celebrated across the globe. Millions of people marched in support of LGBT rights and also held ‘resist’ marches in light of Trump’s actions. There is wide disparity in the actions of leaders around the world – two years ago, Barack Obama took a historic step to legalise same-sex marriage throughout the United States, while the current administration strives to undo all that progress and even refuses to acknowledge Pride month. Today itself, German legislators legalised same-sex marriage, while east European governments threaten their openly gay citizens. Taiwan became the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage earlier this year, while Indian political leaders continue to promote archaic ideologies on the matter of equality.
Nevertheless, there is plenty of reason to rejoice. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marched as an ally, the Greek Finance Minister showed his support at the parade in Athens, and Tel Aviv Pride was the biggest event of its kind in West Asia. Over three million people showed up in Sao Paulo, unafraid to be flamboyant and vibrant. People in Serbia and Ukraine marched despite protests and fears of retaliation. Landmarks around the world, such as the Empire State Building in New York, the Madrid City Hall, and the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi lit up in rainbow colours to support the cause.
We may be subject to discrimination all around the year, but this June has certainly been a celebratory month. Happy Pride!
Feature Image Credits: BuzzFeed LGBT