1969 – First Pride Parades publicly demand gay rights
The first Pride parades are seen as a watershed for LGBT activists – the moment when a movement publicly emerged to fight discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, win equal rights, and play an instrumental role in turning back the HIV pandemic. Almost 50 years on, Pride parades are held throughout the world. The largest are in São Paulo and New York – the city that hosted one of the first parades.
In the early morning of June 28, 1969, violent protests and demonstrations took place on the streets of New York City after the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a well-known Greenwich Village gay bar. Known as the Stonewall Riots, these protests are thought to be the event that galvanized the gay community into political cohesion and gave birth of the modern gay rights movement – which in turn would become the LGBT movement.
In 1970, to mark the first anniversary of the Stonewall uprisings, the very first Gay Pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. Originally these parades were solely political demonstrations to voice LGBT demands for equal rights and protections. It was not until 1991 that Pride began to resemble what it is today – a celebration of LGBT life and sexuality, in addition to a political and social demonstration.
Today, gay pride parades are held in all four corners of the globe, with the largest being in São Paulo, Brazil, and New York City. In 2014, President Obama released a proclamation declaring June as LGBT Pride Month, and announced in June 2016 that a Stonewall National Monument will be created outside the Stonewall Inn in to commemorate the 1969 resistance.