By Zarah Harris
Each June people come together to celebrate Pride. The month-long celebration calls for increased visibility along with the social and self acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. Pride also recognizes the accomplishments of the LGBTQ+ community. In addition, it memorializes the lives lost to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Lastly, it is a time that calls for advocacy on issues that directly affect LGBTQ+ persons.
Pride is celebrated throughout the month of June in honor of the Stonewall Uprising. The Stonewall Uprising occurred on June 28th, 1969 when police raided a gay club, Stonewall Inn, and arrested several employees and club goers. During this time, it was legal for law enforcement to arrest people for participating in drag. It was common for police to search gay clubs and bars for these violations. Women could also be subject to arrest if they wore less than three pieces of “feminine clothing”. The news of these arrests sparked a collective reaction from the community which led to six days of protesting. Activists such as Marsha P. Johnson, Slyvia Rivera, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy were all prominent leaders who helped organize these demonstrations. The Stonewall Uprising was a key moment for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world. The very first Pride March was held a year later on June 28th, 1970.
The rainbow flag is a common symbol to see throughout Pride month. It was created by an artist named Gilbert Baker and represents LGBT Pride. Each color holds a special meaning. For the well known six-color flag, red represents life, orange symbolizes healing, yellow means sunshine, green is for nature, blue represents harmony and purple symbolizes spirit. There are also a number of flags that represent the specific identities within the LGBTQ+ community.
Though Pride Month looks slightly different this year, there are still tons of ways to celebrate Pride as an ally. New York City will be hosting PrideFest in person and online. Allies of the community can educate themselves by visiting local sites such as the Gay Liberation monument or historic landmark Stonewall Inn to learn more about LGBT history. Supporting organizations like the It Gets Better Project that uplift the LGBTQ+ community. Shopping with small LGBTQ+ businesses are all ways people can participate in Pride. Most importantly, continue to support the LGBTQ+ community beyond the month of June by continuously advocating for their safety and rights.