June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, a time intended to fight prejudice, honor the great diversity of the American people, and celebrate and reaffirm our nation’s belief in the equal dignity of all people.
This is a month to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) citizens, and to wave those rainbow pride flags high! It’s also a great time to learn a little about the history of this important national celebration.
Here are five things you might not know about LGBT+ Pride Month:
It Commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York.
In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City for serving liquor without a license. (The NY State Liquor Authority would not issue licenses to establishments that served gay patrons). The NYC gay community felt targeted and harassed by the police—who had already closed many other gay clubs—and that night, the bar’s patrons and neighborhood residents reacted by assembling in the street and protesting.
For several hours police tried to clear the streets while the crowd fought back. Demonstrations and conflicts followed for six days outside the bar, in nearby Christopher Park, and along neighboring streets. At its peak, the crowds included several thousand people—and today, the event is considered the first major protest for the equal rights of LGBTQ+ Americans.
A March Followed One Year Later.
Activists Craig Rodwell and others organized a march in New York City for the following June to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the raid and protests. The Christopher Street Liberation Day March started outside the Stonewall Inn (on, you guessed it, Christopher Street) the morning of June 28, 1970, with just a few hundred people—and ended with several thousand by the time the group reached Central Park.
Other Cities Joined.
In 1970, New York was not alone in its march to build a safe community for the LGBTQ+ community and to strive for their legal rights. Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other cities held marches too—and as the years went on, many other major cities around the country joined the movement as well.
First Presidential Proclamation: 1999.
It was Bill Clinton who issued the first-ever presidential proclamation to declare June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. George W. Bush did not continue the tradition, but Barack Obama did, proclaiming it for all eight years of his presidency. President Donald Trump recognized LGBT Pride Month this year as well.
The Stonewall Inn Is Now a National Historic Landmark.
Thanks to President Barack Obama, the site of the Stonewall uprisings has been designated a National Historic Landmark. That landmark includes the bar, Christopher Park, and the streets where the events of June 28 to July 3, 1969, occurred.
Today, communities everywhere celebrate LGBT Month with parades, parties, symposia, concerts, and more. Here at FRCC, we too want to commemorate the month and honor the impact that LGBTQ+ individuals have had on history and our communities:
- The Westminster Campus is organizing an interactive art project and installation. Students, staff and visitors will have the chance to help paint a large canvas on campus, sharing the date they revealed their sexuality publicly. Others can add their designs and positive messages of support for the LGBTQ community.
- The Boulder County Campus has created an information board with Pride Month facts about famous LGBTQ activists, actors, singers, artists, and historians who have helped shape our nation’s history through their efforts and participation in the Gay Rights Movement.
Denver has lots of great events this month, including the legendary PrideFest (June 15-16, 2019), which includes the Pride5k on June 15 and the Coors Light Denver Pride Parade on June 16. This year, the choruses of Rocky Mountain Arts Association celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall uprising with a choral commemoration on June 7 and 8.
Get out there and support the LGBTQ community. Happy Pride Month!