A Brief Histroy Of Pride
51 years ago, the Stonewall Inn, a well-known bar frequented by the LGBTQ+ community, was raided by New York police. This wasn't the first time the bar had been raided, but it was on this particular night that in response to the violent arrests, the community rioted in protest.
The following year, the riots were commemorated with what was then called the Gay Pride March. Every year across the world, June is recognised as a month to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and continue the fight for equality.
The right to equal and fair treatment regardless of your sexuality or gender is a matter that impacts us all. True sexual freedom comes when all our bodies, identities and desires are valued and seen, and not just the ones that fit the current narrative.
Sexual wellness looks different to every person, but every person is deserving of sexual wellness. Achieving this comes from promoting and learning from different voices and accepting multiple narratives at once. That is why we are celebrating PrideMonth by sharing your voices, your lives, and your stories!
Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera
Marsha P. Johnson (left) and Sylvia Rivera (right) were two of the leading activists that started the Stonewall riots and fought for the rights of the LGBT+ community all their lives. They particularly fought for the further marginalised intersections of the LGBT+ community; including trans people of colour, the homeless, and the incarcerated, setting up STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) in 1970 to help homeless LGBT+ youth.
Despite being instrumental in the movement, they were ostracised by organisations such as the Gay Liberation Front which, a few years after Stonewall decided to direct the movement to centre the middle class, White gay and lesbian community. As transgender women of colour, and sex workers they were increasingly disregarded.
At the 1973 Pride March the two are pictured in here, Rivera was loudly heckled and booed by the majority of those at the march and reported that she was later beaten.
Rivera and Johnson continued to challenge these views through their activism throughout their lives. It is due to more recent work, particularly by Queer people of colour, that the two are beginning to gain the recognition they deserve for their immense influence on this pivotal movement.
Pride & Intersex
London Pride 2018 was the first time Intersex people got together to march, emphasising that the I in LGBTQIA+ stood for Intersex and not invisible.
"It's a celebration and it's a protest" Anick Soni spoke to BBC, saying "We've made history today. This is the first time Intersex people are marching...This is just unbelievable that this has happened. The fact that there are so many of us here today, and we're all different ages, we come from different backgrounds, we come from different countries, could you ask for a more inclusive day?"
A vital aspect of the Pride Marches is representation and awareness. Having all groups within the LGBTQIA+ community represented at Pride serves as a reminder of the different narratives that we may not see in our day to day because they are not as obviously highlighted or spoken about. Representation matters. And celebrating historic moments even in recent history is an essential part of this.
UK Black Pride
UK Black Pride was born in August 2005, when a group of Black lesbian and bisexual women met in Southend-on-Sea to celebrate and amplify one another. The following year, August 18th 2006, marked the first official UK Black Pride celebration and began the growth of a community from the first 200 women in 2005 to over 10,000 LGBTQI+ people today.
UK Black Pride was created to provide a safe space for African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American LGBTQI+ people to celebrate and promote equity and solidarity.
A 2018 study* by StonewallUK found 51% of BAME LGBTQIA+ folx reported experiences of racism from within the LGBT+ community, a number which increases to 3/5 Black LGBT+ people more specifically. As Pride is increasingly being criticised for the unsafe environment it creates for POC, the need for specific spaces "run by us, for us"** as the @UKBlackPride founder @LadyPhyll stated, is evident.
UK Black Pride exists as a proud and public celebration of these intersecting communities and is a powerful example of embracing all sides of your sexuality and identity.
This year @UKBlackPrideis working closely with other organisations to bring #PrideInside- a digital Pride celebration between 28th June - 4th July, as well as organising a virtual 15th anniversary in August.
The symbolic rainbow Pride flag was created in 1978 by Gilbert Baker in San Francisco and was quickly adopted as the symbol for the LGBT+ community across the world. Prior to this flag, a pink triangle was used however many wanted to move away from this due to its use under Nazi Germany. The original rainbow flag was made up of 8 colours rather than six; pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sun, green for nature, turquoise for magic, blue for serenity and purple for the spirit. Due to fabric shortages, the colours were reduced to 6 and became the well-known flag still used today.
Baker died in 2017, the same year that People of Colour within Philadelphia’s LGBT+ community protested the racism prevalent within the nightclub scene particularly and the community more widely. A key result of these protests was the addition of the black and brown stripes to the rainbow flag, designed by Amber Hikes, to emphasise the ongoing need to fight for racial equality as a part of LGBT+ rights and liberation. Interactions of the flag with a black stripe were created in the 1980s to represent those who had lost their lives to HIV.
Versions of the flag continue to be updated, emphasising the movement’s evolution and constant need for progression. In 2018 Daniel Quaser launched the ‘Progress’ Pride Flag which includes the black and brown stripes as well as the light blue, pink and white stripes in a triangle to also highlight the specific intersection of the transgender community and the need for continued progress to be made.
With today being the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the rainbow flag is a powerful visual reminder both of the change this movement has made and the hope for ongoing liberation.