Its June! And you know what that means – it’s Pride month! Most people identify this month as the most colourful month of the year full of rainbows and parades. But that is not all this month is. It is not a surprise that the origin of June as Pride has a very discriminatory history.
June of 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Stonewall riots. In 1969 homosexuality was illegal in New York City. People of the LGBTQ+ community would find refuge in gay bars such as The Stonewall Inn. However, these bars were prone to police harassment. On Saturday, June 28, 1969, nine policemen arrested the employees of the Stonewall Inn for selling alcohol without a license (a common excuse), roughed up the patrons, and arrested anyone not wearing at least three items of gender identifying clothing. But this time, the people outside the bar stood up for themselves and started jeering at the police. They threw debris and bottles at them, which led to the policemen calling for reinforcements. The riots outside the Stonewall Inn lasted the next five days.
While we have come a long way from 1969, there is still a longer way to go. The initialism LGBTTQQIAAP, is one of many used to describe the people of the LGBTQ+ community. It stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, pansexual. This initialism, and more like this one, are often criticized for being too confusing and almost always leaving some people out. There are still way too many countries in the world where homosexuality is criminalized. People of this community are more prone to harassment. It is not uncommon for straight people to want to have a straight pride month in mockery of the actual Pride month. In fact, Boston seems to be getting its first Straight Pride Parade this summer (eye-roll).
But because June is the month of celebration of the history of the LGBTQ+ community, here are a few strides that the world has made in the right direction. In May 2019, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. Bhutan decriminalized homosexuality this June as well, and so did countries like India in the past few months.
But, like I said, we still have a long way to go and it all begins on an individual level. It is great to educate yourself about the happenings of the world. If you would like to show even more support and participate this Pride, the Toronto Pride Parade is happening on Sunday, June 23, 2019.