Holidays in America: Pride Month!
If you live in the United States, especially if you are in a city, chances are good that sometime in June, you might notice an increase in rainbow-themed clothing and flags, or even a brightly colored parade taking place. It’s Pride Month, which means that LGBTQA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, and Asexual) and the people who care about them (sometimes called “allies”) pay tribute to the people involved in the Stonewall Riots.
The Stonewall Riots took place in New York City, on June 28th, 1969. Police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club. Several days of protests followed, from bar patrons, staff, and neighborhood residents. Protestors wanted places where they could be open about their sexual orientation without fear of arrest. A year later, the first Gay Pride Week was celebrated, which as evolved into not only the New York City Pride March, but countless other parades, festivals, and concerts. In 2019, it was estimated that over 2 million people took part in the New York City Pride March.
Though New York is where Pride has its roots, almost every big city (and many of the smaller ones, as well) have activities of their own. Denver, Colorado is known for its 5K walk/run and face painting for kids, as well as concerts and a parade. San Francisco has one of the largest and most iconic Pride celebrations, drawing more than a million people annually. Chicago’s Pride in the Park live-music celebration will be an in-person event, although due to COVID-19, the Chicago Pride Parade will be delayed until early October this year.
The most widely recognized symbol of the Pride Month is the rainbow. Rainbow flags and clothing with rainbow colors are the most common, but you can get a rainbow on everything from water bottle to hats to face masks. The rainbow flag was first designed in the 1970’s in San Francisco. Each color symbolizes a unique aspect: red is life, orange is healing, yellow is sunlight, green is nature, blue is serenity, and purple is spirit.
Despite marriage equality laws passing in 2015, LGBTQ issues are still controversial in many parts of the country, and this group is too often the target of violence.
For more information, go to June is LGBT Pride Month, and for an online resource to support LGBTQA+ friendly-businesses, check out PrideSource. There are also many LGBTQA+ positive children’s books, such as In Our Mothers’ House, I am Jazz, and And Tango Makes Three. Tango is a very sweet picture book telling the true story of two male chinstrap penguins in the Central Park Zoo in New York City that became a couple and hatched an egg and raised the chick (the egg was an second egg laid by one of the females at the zoo). The book has frequently been banned since its 2005 publication, with “homosexual overtones” being the most common reason, although there is nothing sexual in the book.
But wait—if Pride is a whole month, how does it qualify as a holiday? Pride Day itself is often celebrated at the end of the month, but June as a whole is a time to celebrate.