The LGBT Pride month and festivities are a 40-year-long tradition in the United States. Many of us don’t know that it started as a commemoration of the Stonewall riots that took place in 1969. Stonewall, back then, was a very popular gay bar situated in Greenwich Village in Manhattan.
The riots themselves were a series of rebellious and violent demonstrations against the NY police for raiding the Stonewall Inn on June 1969. This single event is currently considered the biggest tipping point for the LGBT civil rights movement. Since then every year, the LGBT community and supporters get together and celebrate the diversity of the LGBT community and the impact they have had all over the world.
Pride has evolved from just marches to week and month long activities filled with picnics, shows, huge parades, workshops, symposia, concerts etc. The month of June was also declared as ‘Pride Month’ by President Obama this year.
I attended my first Pride parade in Boston this past weekend. And I cannot do justice to the experience I had, by putting it into words. It was simply exhilarating. Seeing so many people come together to support a movement that not just promotes the LGBT community but sends out an even bigger message – ‘it’s okay to be whoever you desire to be’ – was simply inspiring.
Banks, churches, schools, politicians (WE SAW ELIZABETH WARREN, no biggie :D) and so many non-profits came together to stand up for what they believed in and made the parade a huge success. My favorite moment was when I saw a South-Asian woman carrying a sign saying ‘I support my queer desi daughter’. Of course that hit me very close to home since I am Bangladeshi, but even if I wasn’t that was definitely the proof of how far so many people have come in terms of accepting those that are different from themselves.
The LGBT community has come a very long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969. The global community has also come a long way to accept those that may not fit the ‘norm’ according to their ideologies. And there is a very prevalent hope that it can only get better from here on out.
After attending Pride this year, the rainbow flag made a lot of sense to me. The flag means a lot of different things to many. Well for me, it just meant ‘happy to be unique’. Everyone there who could express themselves freely seemed so happy. The entire parade just radiated happiness.
It always feels great to be comfortable in your own skin and embrace who you are. And it just feels ecstatic when thousands around you tag along. Mankind has come so far to accept all the diversity this world has to offer. There’s plenty more milestones to reach till every day feels like Pride for the LGBT community. But till then, let’s appreciate all that we have, and of course- Happy Pride y’all!
– Suaida Firoze