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Pride Month: Traditions From Around The World!

Photo by Margaux Bellott on Unsplash

Pride month is here! So, dust off your rainbow flags, douse yourself in glitter, and get ready to join the fun, but don’t forget that Pride is so much more than parades and festivals! Want to know more?…than read on! 

Know our history

Everyone has heard the phrase: the first Pride was a riot, referring to the Stonewall Riots that happened on June 28, 1969. Although a pivotal moment in the gay rights movement, it was not the first time that LGBTQ+ folks took a stand against police harassment and fought for their rights. Riots were actually happening across the US, with Cooper Do-Nuts and the Black Tavern in LA and Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco amongst them, well before Stonewall.

The history of Pride, in fact, cannot be pinpointed to one single moment in time as it is so much more than just one night and one location. It’s about protests and activism happening across the US since at least the 1950s. It’s about QTPOC like Marsha P. JohnsonSylvia Rivera, and Stornmé DeLarverie organising sit-ins and shelter for other trans. It’s about lesbians taking care of HIV patients when doctors were too scared to do it. Stonewall was the catalyst of a movement that was already on its way to change things. 

 

Stonewall

Stonewall Inn opened in 1967 as a ‘private’ gay club with no liquor licence, as at the time it was illegal to serve alcohol in disorderly environments. As you might have guessed, gay patrons were counted as disorderly.

Police raids on gay clubs, with the excuse of alcohol being served unlawfully, were simply commonplace back then, with arresting of patrons, padlocking of doors, and impounding of alcohol.

On June 28, 1969, during one of those raids, things did not go quite as planned for the police.

The police stormed the Inn and started confiscating alcohol and rounding patrons outside to wait for police vehicles, which took longer than expected to arrive. A nearby crowd of bystanders and released patrons grew restless and angry until someone threw the first punch which started a six-night confrontation. 

The following year, on the anniversary of the riots, the first commemorative Pride parade took place in New York City.

In 2016, the area surrounding the Stonewall Inn was designated as a National Monument, becoming the first historical landmark to commemorate LGBTQ+ history.

Photo by Mercedes Mehling on Unsplash

Rainbow Flag

Look around during the month of June and you will see rainbow flags pretty much everywhere, but do you know the history and meaning behind the flag? 

“The only thing they have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope.” (H. Milk) 

Back in 1978 Harvey Milk, the first openly gay member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, challenged queer artist Gilbert Baker to create a symbol of hope and pride for the gay community as an alternative to the pink triangle, which was once imposed by Nazis to identify homosexuals and then reclaimed by the LGBTQ+ community in the ’70s as a symbol against persecution. 

 

Baker went to work and with the help of some volunteers dyed and stitched together the first rainbow flag. The original flag dates back to 1978 and it initially counted eight stripes

  • Hot pink for sexuality
  • Red for life
  • Orange for healing
  • Yellow for sunlight
  • Green for nature
  • Turquoise for art
  • Indigo for harmony 
  • Violet for spirit

 

Eventually, the hot pink was dropped as the pigment was difficult to source and made the design too costly.  The turquoise was dropped as well, so that the flag would be more symmetrical when it was hung.

Through the years the flag has been adapted and changed to add more voices like the black and brown stripes to represent BIPOC members of the LGBTQ+ community and the light blue, light pink, and white stripes to represent different gender identities.

 

Why do we still need Pride?

I would argue that if you are asking yourself why we still celebrate Pride month than that is the most obvious reason why we do!

Although there is much cause for celebration, we are still far from equality. Simply think of the 70+ countries where homosexuality is still a crime, the surge in anti-trans violence, especially against QTPOC, and the enormous number of anti-trans legislation that are passed daily by governments around the world. 2021 has been a record-breaking year for the US alone with the introduction of 100+ new anti-trans bills. Think about how conversion therapy is still illegal, the fear and shame that is often associated with queer life, the stigma and discrimination we continue to experience in the media and social media. Think about healthcare inequalities, including delays and bans on lifesaving treatments/surgeries for trans folks. I could go on; the list is far from over.

Pride month is not only a celebration, it’s taking a stand, it’s fighting for equal rights. It’s a way to say we are here, we have always been here and we are not going anywhere, it is time you listen to us. We still need Pride because we are still not safe nor respected because we still need to fight to be accepted for who we are.

Pride parade during Pride month
Photo by Margaux Bellott on Unsplash

Allyship vs corporate Pride

It’s like a switch, Pride month is here and suddenly the rainbow flags are everywhere. Just google the words Pride month and your screen will get covered by a shower of flags and confetti. It’s honestly a little unsettling to see how the big brands have turned Pride into a branded holiday. Sure, we all want to spread awareness and support for our community but raising a flag, displaying a nice message, and launching a limited-edition line for one month of the year is most definitely not the way to do it.

True allyship is constant and consistent work that takes time and effort and lasts more than one month. So, if you truly want to help, here are some ways to go about it:

 

  • Support Queer and Trans owned businesses
  • Educate yourself, know our history and why we still need Pride
  • Boycott anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-trans bills
  • Learn the right language to use when talking to LGBTQ+ people or LGBTQ+ issues
  • Show up and get involved
  • Make sure your allyship is intersectional and always try an uplift the most marginalised groups within our community
  • If you are a brand foster a diverse and inclusive workplace, including mandatory inclusion training, equal pay and rights, and fair recruitment process
  • Pride is all year round, not just June

 

Pride around the world

Pride month is a worldwide celebration with parades, festivals, concerts, and events taking place in cities across the globe. 

Whilst some parades might not take place or might have been moved later in the year because of the Covid pandemic, you are bound to find some events running near you.

Click here for a comprehensive list of parades and events worldwide. 

You may also like these articles from Bébé Voyage:

Motherhood, Bisexuality, And The Fear Of Coming Out As A Bisexual Mom

Traveling Tips For LGBTQ+ Families

Traveling as an Interracial LGBTQ+ Couple with Twins

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