Will Pride be a big deal in 2020?
After 2019’s big focus on the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, there is a slight risk that Pride in 2020 could feel a little anticlimactic.
However, we don’t have to look far to see plenty of reminders that victory in our equality battle is far from inevitable. There’s still countries where people are killed for being gay, there’s still countries where it’s illegal to be gay, there’s still countries where there’s no protection against discrimination, there’s still countries where queer people are subject to homophobic attacks, there’s still countries where people are protesting about LGBTQ-inclusive education.
On top of that, as a community, we’re still not very good at looking after our own. We’re enabling persecution of Trans people. Racism remains endemic. We fat shame. We femme shame. Our mental health is fragile.
You don’t have to look far to realise that we have to continue to fight to hold onto the gains that have been made and to secure safety and equality for LGBTQ people everywhere.
Why is June recognised as Pride Month?
Across the United States – and in many other parts of the world – the month of June is officially recognised as a time to celebrate LGBTQ Pride.
The month of June is significant because the Stonewall riots took place at the end of June in 1969.
Brenda Howard is credited with being one of the main driving forces in coordinating the first LGBTQ Pride march. Howard is also credited with the idea for a week-long series of events around Pride Day. Additionally, Howard – along with fellow activists Robert Martin and Craig Schoonmaker – is credited with popularising the word Pride to describe these events.
Throughout the month of June, towns and cities across the US and around the world will be holding LGBTQ Pride celebrations.
Why were the Stonewall riots a big deal?
The Stonewall riots of 28 June 1969 weren’t the first protests or confrontations between police and the LGBTQ community, but they’ve become symbolic of the growing consciousness and confidence that paved the way for the fight for equality and freedom from discrimination.
What triggered the Stonewall riots was a police raid on the Stonewall Inn. In the heart of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, the Stonewall Inn was a mafia-run bar that was a hub for the neighbourhood’s marginalised queer community.
In the late 60s, police raids on bars like the Stonewall Inn were commonplace – part of the continuing harassment and victimisation that LGBTQ people were experiencing at that time. The raid on the Stonewall Inn on 28 June 1969 sparked that sense of frustration into violent protests – protests that lasted six days and involved thousands of people. Perhaps most importantly, the riots received widespread media coverage.
Prior to the Stonewall riots, the push for LGBTQ equality was led by ‘homophile’ advocates – organisations such as the Mattachine Society. The Mattachine Society sought to organise and speak for gay men, and they favoured assimilation. Their objective was to demonstrate that gay men were ‘normal’ and just like everybody else.
Following the Stonewall riots, and in line with the counter-culture movements of the late-60s, representatives of the LGBTQ community became increasingly emboldened and more confrontational. New organisations were established, community-focused newspapers were published, and there was more of a willingness to be open, to be visible, to be different.
It was on the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots, 28 June 1970, that the first Gay Pride marches were held . The LGBTQ communities of New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago held events to commemorate the raid on the Stonewall Inn and the violent confrontation that followed. The following year, Gay Pride marches were also held in Boston, Dallas, Milwaukee, London, Paris, West Berlin, and Stockholm . In subsequent years, the number of cities participating continued to grow.
Today, Pride events and celebrations are a big moment. They’re an important and symbolic opportunity for our community to come together, to celebrate our diversity and our visibility as well as our strength and resilience.
If you’re growing up in today’s world, starting to navigate your sexuality, starting to understand how you connect with the LGBTQ community that you see around you, it’s important to understand how LGBTQ identity has evolved over time, and the role that events such as the Stonewall riots have played in that.
History is important because it helps us learn from those that have gone before us – the battles that have been fought, the struggles that have been won, the mistakes that have been made.
You might not feel that you’ve got much connection with the people who lived in New York City in 1969, but it’s because of those people – because of their lifetimes of harassment and discrimination that culminated in six nights of violence – that we can proudly identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, or however you want to define yourself within the broad LGBTQ umbrella. It’s because of those people that we can live openly as ourselves, that we can get married if we want, that we can have families if we want, that we have the freedom to lead the lives that we want. It’s because of those people that we continue to hold Pride marches around the world.
We honour the marginalised people of Greenwich Village – people who had nothing left to lose, people who were pushed so far that they had no alternative but to stand up to harassment and stand up to discrimination .
Where to celebrate Pride in 2020
- Toronto takes their Pride seriously, but they also know how to throw a great party.
- Cities don’t get much gayer than West Hollywood – the gay heart of LA.
- Key West is old-school gay, but it’s still a really fun place to get naked and celebrate Pride.
- One of the few Pride marches held after dark.
- For decades, San Francisco has helped define our understanding of what it means to be part of a gay community. The city that gave us Harvey Milk is always a great place to wave the rainbow flag.
- It could get windy, but it’s worth it.
- Kicking off Pride season in the UK, Birmingham is always a fun weekend.
- The UK capital embraces Pride celebrations, with a massive parade and a free concert in Trafalgar Square.
- Big names on the main stage and a big party in the park. This is one of the UK’s favourite Pride celebrations.
- This year the headliners are Mariah Carey and The Pussycat Dolls.
- Taking over the town centre of Woking, this is a free event that’s embraced by the local community.
- This will be the 12th edition of Pride in Swindon & Wiltshire, and the 2020 theme is We Are Family.
- Closing out the UK Pride season, Manchester is massive – in every sense of the word.
Be part of World Pride
In 2019, World Pride was held in New York City to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.
World Pride is an international Pride celebration that happens every two years. A different city hosts World Pride each time.
Since it began in 2000, World Pride has been held in the following cities:
- 2000: Rome
- 2006: Jerusalem
- 2012: London
- 2014: Toronto
- 2017: Madrid
- 2019: New York City
Future World Pride events are scheduled for Copenhagen in 2021, and Sydney in 2023.
We can help with flights, accommodation, tickets, or anything else that you might be interested in.