It’s finally pride month! As a result, people from the LGBTQ+ community have been celebrating worldwide. Throughout history we have been shamed or persecuted for our sexual orientations or for having a gender that may not match our biology but this month is a month to finally celebrate our beautiful, gay selves.
Firstly, let’s dive into the history of pride. It all began in 1969 with the Stonewall riots; tensions had been building in New York due to the discriminatory police raids and laws which prohibited drag queens and cross dressers from dazzling the streets of New York. Instead the patrons of New York were forced to hide away lest they be arrested. Eventually, the tensions grew so high that on June 28th, 1969 in a bar in Greenwich Village, when the police came for another raid, the 200 patrons inside were no longer standing the discriminatory arrests. Led by drag queen Marsha P. Johnson,they rioted, rallied and rebelled against the police for 5 days, all members of the community came together as the riots became a galvanising force.
Stonewall remains a symbolic historic and political event for social resistance. Pride commemorates and recognises the impact that Stonewall had on the community’s place in America. Stonewall was an impetus for a score of gay rights organisations including the Gay Liberation Front, Human rights campaign and even Outrage! in the UK. The committee formed to commemorate the riots was coined in 1970 with ‘Gay Pride’ as its slogan - as one committee member said, ‘anyone can have pride in themselves.’
The history of pride is quite recent due to the fact that sodomy was not outlawed in America. That is the end of the sentence, sodomy is still technically illegal in quite a few states but the law is fortunately no longer enforced. America didn’t actually decriminalise homosexuality 1996 but that’s enough about the American side of Pride.
Pride is now an international event thanks to globalization and therefore, since so many community members live outside of America it is important to cover Pride Worldwide (believe it or not this is also the name of an international mail service).
Istanbul has held a pride every year for the last 4 years despite it being banned in 2014 and despite trials being held for 11 of the activists, 40 people still marched in Taksim square in protest. The organisers even put out statement saying,’“We are not scared, we are here, we will not change. You are scared, you will change and you will get used to it.”
Iran is perhaps one of the bravest countries with protesters putting out a pride flag overlooking Tehran despite the fact that 5,000 citizens had been executed for their sexul orienation since 1979.
Uganda had one of the most violent Prides with their pride in 2012 in which they protested a gay rights leader’s cruel murder ( David Kato ) as well as against the Anti-Homosexulaoty Act of the time. The riots ended with violence, torture and arrests of activists involved.
These are just a few examples of countries in which despite the laws in place, the citizens are protesting with the spirit of those who fought in the Stonewall riots. Homosexuality was not decriminalised in the UK until 1967 and did not cease to be an official mental illness in America until 1973. Only in 2003 did the Supreme Court finally completely decriminalise homosexual sexual conduct but now it’s 15 years later we can finally get married! Pride is not only to celebrate history but to give hope for the future; things can change quickly and I hope that everyone one of the countries mentioned can make their peace with homosexuality. Until then, happy pride to everyone.
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