...love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.
Hate seems to steal the show. From terrorism to animal abuse to mass shootings, evil occurs on our screens and creates a dark cloud on our day, making love difficult to notice. On June 12, 2016, a man went into Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and killed 49 people of the LGBTQ community, making it the worst attack in the United States since September 11, 2001.
Numerous efforts since then have been targeted at suppressing the progressive movement and the LGBTQ community. Things like social discrimination and harassment, refusing people at restaurants and shopping establishments, a ban on transgender people in the military, and the potential revoking of same-sex marriages across the nation.
Because of the prejudice the LGBTQ community faces every day, June has become known as "Pride Month," and is a time for the LGBTQ community and their allies to come together to spread love instead of hate, and to raise awareness about the struggles members of this community still face.
For those that identify as members of the LGBTQ community, this one’s for you. This week, we are dedicating our blog posts to Pride Month and how it came to be celebrated. Read below to find out the history of Pride Month, and why we raise awareness for the LGBTQ community.
Pride Month occurs all throughout June in big cities and even small rural towns. But before it was celebrated all over the world with parades, there was Gay Pride Day, where celebrations were reduced to one day out of the year, and there was the Mattachine Society, a gay rights group active in the 1950’s. The only other place the gay community sought refuge was at bars and clubs.
It wasn’t until 1969, with the riots of Stonewall Inn, that change came to an international level.
In the early hours of a late June morning, the New York City police raided Stonewall Inn, a gay club located outside of Greenwich Village on Christopher Street, and proceeded to roughly escort patrons and employees out of the club. Although police raids on clubs and gay bars were common in New York City at the time, the Stonewall Inn became legend, with minorities, homosexuals, and other members of the community coming together to fight back.
This particular raid sparked an uprising. Passion and anger fueled a six-day protest, thus signifying the beginning of the gay liberation movement. It was filled with violent encounters with authorities, and ended with the bar erupting in flames. (1)
Since then, Stonewall Inn has been remodeled and touted as a national monument. Instead of a day, Pride Month occurs each June to commemorate the horrific, yet transforming events of Stonewall Inn, which started a new age of political activism. (2)
After Stonewall Inn
Now that the fight for acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people became unapologetic and open, a multitude of groups were formed in solidarity. Groups like, Human Rights Campaign, OutRage!, GLAAD, PFLAG, the Gay Activists Alliance, the Gay Liberation Front, and Queer Nation (3) were all formed in the aftermath of Stonewall.
The impact is as clear - one group evolved into thousands across the nation.
Even though Stonewall began the movement, there’s still more to do. Americans human rights are at risk, and unless we continually raise awareness, it may be too late. Here are the different ways you can raise awareness for LGBTQ rights:
1.) Email Your Senator
The wellbeing of people in our country ultimately ends up in the hands of the government. Congress, specifically Senators, have the power to grant rights to our fellow citizens through laws. One way to advocate for the LGBTQ community is to email, mail, or phone your local senator and encourage them to write and support pro-LGBTQ legislation.
2.) Go to Pride
One of the best way to raise awareness for the community is to march with them at Pride! You can literally walk hand in hand with members of the LGBTQ community and stand up for gay rights.
3.) Contribute to Organizations
Another way you can raise awareness is by donating or joining one of the above mentioned organizations! These groups, and other gay positive groups, are always looking for advocates to help further the acceptance of all LGBTQ people.
4.) Wear a Wristband
Our favorite way to raise awareness is to wear LGBTQ Pride wristbands! At Rapid Wristbands, we offer rainbow-colored wristbands that are available at any time. Just click the button below to order yours so you can wear it at Pride! You can even customize it. Look below to see how people in the past have customized their LGBTQ wristbands.