Pride gatherings are rooted in the arduous history of minority groups who have struggled for decades to overcome prejudice and be accepted for who they are.
Pride events welcome anyone who feels like their sexual identity falls outside the mainstream — although many straight people join in, too.
LGBTQ is an acronym meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. The term sometimes is extended to LGBTQIA, to include intersex and asexual groups. Queer is an umbrella term for non-straight people; intersex refers to those whose sex is not clearly defined because of genetic, hormonal or biological differences; and asexual describes those who don’t experience sexual attraction.
These terms may also include gender-fluid people, or those whose gender identity shifts over time or depending on the situation.
How did it start?
In the early hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village, and began hauling customers outside. Tensions quickly escalated as patrons resisted arrest and a growing crowd of bystanders threw bottles and coins at the officers. New York’s gay community, fed up after years of harassment by authorities, broke out in neighborhood riots that went on for three days.
In 2016 the area around the Stonewall Inn, still a popular nightspot today, was designated a national monument.
Where did the Pride name come from?
What’s the origin of the rainbow flag?
In 1978, artist and designer Gilbert Baker was commissioned by San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk — one of the first openly gay elected officials in the US — to make a flag for the city’s upcoming Pride celebrations.
Baker, a prominent gay rights activist, gave a nod to the stripes of the American flag but drew inspiration from the rainbow to reflect the many groups within the gay community.
A subset of flags represent other sexualities on the spectrum, such as bisexual, pansexual and asexual.
Can I participate in Pride events if I’m not LGBTQ?
Sure. Pride events welcome allies from outside the LGBTQ community. They are opportunities to show support, to observe, listen and be educated.
This story was first published in 2018.