This month for many places across the globe is Pride month. Cities around the world will be holding celebrations, parades and demonstrations to show support for the LGBTQ+ community.
However, criticisms of Pride have become more prevalent in recent years. Some say it’s become more about allies and companies profiting off seeming progressive, rather then the LGBTQ+ community it is supposed to represent.
So let’s take it back to the inception of Pride to remember exactly what it is all about. Because it was not always a big party, supported by corporations and attended by millions of people worldwide.
It was a protest.
The History of Pride.
One major event that kickstarted the modern LGBTQ+ movement was the police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City in June 1969. During this time, raids on LGBTQ+ establishments were common, resulting in the arrest of individuals engaging in illegal homosexual behaviour.
However, the scene at Stonewall was different, and quickly erupted into clashes between the police and patrons. Those who frequented Stonewall were some of the most marginalized members within the gay community, like the Black drag queen Marsha P. Johnson, who catapulted LGBTQ+ rights into the spotlight. Riots, protests and demonstrations continued, giving birth to the modern LGBTQ+ equality movement.
Pride around the world.
The first unofficial gathering of solidarity in the LGBTQ+ community in Toronto was on Toronto Island in 1971. Political in nature, the gathering was to celebrate the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada only two years prior.
What is now Pride in Toronto came out of protests following mass bathhouse police raids in 1981. The chief of police finally apologized for these raids in 2016, 35 years after.
Recently, tensions with police have risen again due to protest by members of the Black Lives Matter movement during the 2016 Toronto Pride parade. Among the demands of the BLM protestors was the mandate to ban Toronto police from marching in the parade, due to the historical and current oppression of LBGTQ+/POC individuals by the police.
In 1990, Johannesburg in South Africa held the first ever Pride event in the continent of Africa. Although South Africa was one of the first countries to legalize gay marriage, discrimination and social stigma continue to affect the LGBTQ+ community.
Pride is completely different for those living in countries where homosexuality is still criminalized. In India, the criminalization of homosexuality was upheld by the supreme court in 2013, although moves to decriminalize it have been made since then. It is still seen as a very taboo subject within the government and society in general.
Pride marches and demonstrations now occur in a number of cities across India. Many participants wear colorful masks to hide their identities in order to reduce backlash from friends and family.
From Queer Azadi Mumbai/Facebook