2019 marked the 50 year anniversary of Pride and it was great to see so many people around the country celebrating, Bristols’s pride was a huge success and a great day with around over 40,000 people estimated to have been there this year.
There are many people who don’t really know the origins of Pride, how it came about or why it is celebrated. In America in the late 1960’s homophobia was rife; homosexuality was illegal and there were no laws protecting gay people. In June 1969 the gay community decided it was time to fight back against police persecution.
The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York that was protected by the Mafia was regularly being raided by the police. One particular night the community decided to fight back which led to clashes between them and the police sparking riots. Word spread and more and more people joined the protestors and it is estimated that there were 2,000 people there the following night.
It was the Stonewall riots that sparked the gay revolution, groups were formed, and marches were held all calling for gay rights. The following year on the anniversary of the Stonewall riots the Christopher Street Liberation Day march was held. There was no music, dancing or people having fun, but thousands of people carrying banners and signs, marching and chanting for gay rights. This was to become an annual event and eventually evolved into the Pride parades across the world that we are familiar with today.
Today the Pride events are a celebration, a celebration of progress, and acceptance, things have moved on in the last 50 years and in many parts of the world the LGBTQ+ community is being accepted, we have rights and it is thankfully no longer illegal to be in a relationship or marry the person we love. The event has grown from one day and Pride month attracts millions of participants from all over the world. With parades, parties and concerts it is easy to forget our ancestors who fought for our rights and so memorials are also held during Pride month to commemorate those members of our community who lost their lives due to hate crimes against them.
People will sometimes ask why isn’t there a straight Pride? Pride is not a party to celebrate being gay, it’s a nod to those who have fought for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a time when people can be 100% themselves without worrying about how they’re dressed, how they act, who they’re with and are they going to be followed and beaten because of who they are and who they love? Will they be sacked from their job for being in a same sex relationship?
Straight people don’t “come out” and face rejection from their families and friends, they are not judged as sinners by religious groups. Straight people have never been put in prison for simply being in love or given conversion therapy to “cure” them. And straight people don’t have their sexual orientation used as an insult when describing something negative.
Straight Pride happens every day of the year.