Last Updated on June 4, 2024

Happy Pride Month! 🏳️‍🌈

Here in the United States, June is Pride Month.

It’s a time to honor the the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

Pride Month is part celebration, part protest.

That’s because it hasn’t always been easy to be different in this world.

In fact, the reason Pride Month happens is in June is because of what happened this month, 55 years ago.

The Stonewall Rebellion

At 1:28 AM on Saturday June 28th, 1969, a crowded bar was peacefully partying, when New York City police raided the bar.

What illegal activity was taking place at this bar which necessitated police presence?

Simply existing as queer, openly, without shame.

In 1969, being gay in the United States was both illegal and a disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

The FBI and police kept lists of gay folk and where they hung out.

The U.S. Post Office tracked addresses where gay magazines were mailed.

State and local governments shut down gay bars.

Cities outlawed wearing gender nonconforming clothes.

Universities expelled teachers when they thought they might be gay.

The Stonewall Inn was one of the rare public places that welcomed all.

Owned by the mafia, Stonewall was a gathering place for gay men, drag queens, homeless young people, transgender folks, and lesbian women.

Stonewall was the only gay bar in New York City where dancing was allowed.

It was a place where you could be yourself.

Making it Safe to be Different

The violent police raids of June 28th, 1969 were not the first ones on a gay bar in New York City.

But this time, when police started abusing them, the people fought back.

They’d had enough of being treated like garbage, just for being themselves.

This wasn’t an organized protest, it just happened spontaneously.

As Michael Fader, a 26-year-old man who was at Stonewall that night, put it, “We all had a collective feeling like we’d had enough of this kind of shit.”

After the crowd rioted, protests broke out the next few days too.

Groups of people began organizing to create safe spaces for people to be openly themselves.

A year later peaceful demonstrations took place in multiple US cities to commemorate what happened at Stonewall.

And so the gay rights movement began in the United States.

Even if you don’t consider yourself part of the LGBTQIA+ community, a world where everyone is safe to be themselves is a better world for you too.

Fear and shame and punishment just causes needless stress for everyone.

Many people today want to head backwards, to increase the shame and misery for people who don’t fit the norm.

That isn’t going to help anybody.

Instead, we can celebrate our uniqueness, the incredible diversity of humans and everything else in this Universe.

We may even feel positive pride about ourselves when we do.

We all just want to be authentically us.

When we make it safe to be ourselves, then we can all come fully into our potential, both individually and collectively.

Take care,

 

 

 

~Duff
(they/them)