If you’ve ever attended a Pride parade, festival or concert, you know that these events are fun-filled celebrations that invite all people to honor one another’s individuality.
But Pride Month, recognized throughout the month of June, is about so much more. During Pride, our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) communities and allies come together—to learn, remember, support the movement and celebrate.
Here’s what each of these things mean to some of our LGBTQIA+ community members at FRCC…
A Time to Learn & Remember
Betty Abate (she/her) graduated from FRCC in May 2023 and is transferring to the University of Colorado Boulder in the fall to earn a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media communications. She only came out to friends and family two years ago, and says even she is learning about the history of LGBTQIA+ rights.
“Last year (2022) was my first time attending Denver PrideFest, and it made me feel seen in a way I never have before,” she says. “Pride Month has made me stronger and more grateful, and it has catapulted me to learn more about queer history and how we’ve gotten where we are today.”
“I think for all of us, Pride is an opportunity to find an appreciation for others in our communities who deserve to be respected and not persecuted.”
A Place Where We All Belong
River Bartell (they/them) is an officer for the FRCC student group, Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA), at FRCC’s Larimer Campus. They are working toward an AS degree at FRCC with plans to transfer to Colorado State for a bachelor’s degree in physics. River plans to eventually pursue a PhD in astrophysics.
River says that Pride Month is a source of joy and happiness. “Pride events are one of the few places where I feel like I belong and can see a bunch of others like me,” River says.
“Pride is a time for anyone who has felt like they are an outsider to be themselves,” they add. “My favorite part is all the art that people make in celebration.”
“I love that Pride inspires people to create and share a part of themselves that they might not otherwise.”
Where Pride Marches Began
The first Pride marches were held in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago on June 28, 1970, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.
At the start of the 1960s, homosexuality was still considered a crime in the United States—forcing many LGBTQIA+ people to hide their identities from family, friends, co-workers to avoid harassment or violence. Until some laws changed in the late 1960s, gay couples couldn’t legally be in relationships. And even after that, gay people didn’t have the same rights as others.
The Stonewall Inn: A Safe Haven
LGBTQIA+ people and couples had few places to gather in those days. But some bars and restaurants—like the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City—were exceptions. At the Stonewall, patrons could dance, drink and be themselves.
The problem was that the law in New York—and most states—dictated that establishments serving alcohol to gay customers were considered to be places where “unlawful practices” were carried on. Police raids of bars and clubs that catered to LGBTQIA+ patrons were frequent, and sadly, police brutality was not uncommon.
The Beginning of an Uprising
When the New York State Liquor Authority caught wind of the Stonewall Inn’s lack of liquor license, police planned a raid. After midnight on June 28, 1969, police entered the establishment and began making arrests.
During these raids, the patrons would generally retreat or scatter. But not this time. As they watched their friends being forced into a police van, many of them fought back in frustration and anger.
They began to yell at and shove the police and then threw bottles and debris. The uprising outside the Stonewall Inn continued to flare up over the next five days.
How Pride Was Born
The events at Stonewall sparked a turning point. The gay community would no longer be silenced. They wanted the right to be themselves—to be able to gather in public without fear of retribution or violence.
One year after the riots, gay activists in New York organized the Christopher Street Liberation Day March. The march grew to thousands of people throughout New York and inspired marches in other large US cities that same year.
L. Craig Schoonmaker was part of the march’s planning committee, and the first to suggest using the word “pride” in its slogan. The official chant for the march became, “Say it loud, gay is proud.”
A Time to Support the Movement
Although we’ve come a long way in protecting LGBTQIA+ communities, the work is far from done. In fact, it’s more important than ever that people come together to continue the fight.
States continue to introduce bills that threaten the rights of LGBTQIA+ people, including those that deny access to health care and those that restrict freedom of speech and expression. You can read up on these bills being tracked by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Jonah Noell (he/him) is an FRCC student at the Larimer Campus who is planning to transfer next year to the University of Northern Colorado to earn a bachelor’s degree in history. Eventually, he wants to go to law school and become an attorney who represents juveniles in the foster care or criminal systems.
“Pride is important to me because the work to further the equality movement isn’t done,” Jonah says. “There are still many people within the LGBTQI+ community who do not have basic rights, and that’s why it is important that we all come together and raise our voices.”
Celebrating Pride All Year Long
Jonah adds that he plans to attend Denver PrideFest and Boulder Pride Festival later this month, but he also believes in making Pride a part of his everyday life. “As someone studying history, I like talking with others about queer history and queer issues.”
“Teaching people is a way I celebrate Pride every day.”
A Time to Celebrate
Of course, Pride Month is also a celebration of queer joy, rights and pride. FRCC student Jo Carroll (they/them) is transferring this fall to Colorado State University. There, Jo will pursue a bachelor’s degree, double majoring in journalism and French.
Jo says that for them, Pride Month is “a little remembrance and a little celebration. Pride is both a history lesson and a reason to celebrate.”
“I attend Pride events throughout the month—but every day, I live confidently as a queer person.”
“Growing up, I didn’t have any visibly queer people in my life. So, it means a lot to me today that I can be that person. Personally, I celebrate Pride that way too.”
Events Not to Be Missed
Here are some of the uplifting community Pride events happening throughout June across the Front Range:
Saturday, June 10, 11:00am to 5:00pm | Adams County Pride | Riverdale Regional Park
Sunday, June 11, 11:30am to 5:00pm | Boulder Pride Festival | Boulder Central Park
Saturday, June 24, 9:30am | Denver PRIDE 5K | Colorado State Capitol Building
Sunday, June 25, 9:30am to 11:00am | Denver Pride Parade | Cheesman Park to Civic Center
Friday, June 30, 4:00pm to 8:00pm | Longmont Pride Festival | Roosevelt Park
Saturday, July 15, 10:00am to 4:00pm | NoCo Pride | Civic Center Park
Want to learn more about Pride? Here’s are some great places to begin your Pride Month educational journey:
And remember, this month is about learning and celebration. Together, we must continue to celebrate our LGBTQIA+ friends and make sure they are afforded the same rights as others.
Be loud, be proud and support your fellow humans. Happy Pride.
Welcoming. Respectful. Inclusive.
Together, we are FRCC.