HOW IT ALL STARTED
28 of June 1969. The StoneWall Inn. A pub in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York. A pub where the LGBTQ community of New York could be themselves, express who they are away from the fear and the harassment of the world. This pub didn’t have liquor license and fire escapes, but was one of the few places that offered something liberating: The Freedom to be yourself, in the times where being gay was considered a crime. In the early-morning hours, just after 1:00, police raided the pub and demanded to check 200 people’s identifications and physically verify their gender. But it was Marsha Johnson, an African-Amercan trans woman who did not obey the police’s demands. She took a shot glass in her hand and threw it against a mirror. And that was when everything started!
Police proceeded in the arrest of multiple patrons. But the police wagons were not in time and the crowd of released patrons was growing outside the pub. The last spark was when Stormé DeLarverie, after her violent arrest by four policemen, looked at the people standing around and shouted: “Why don’t you guys do something?”. Her shaking voice woke up the angry crowd and they immediately began to fight back, throwing beer cans and other objects to the police. They have had enough! Invasions in bars and pubs were not rare. But they could not bear the fact that they were being arrested and chased down for just being themselves. It was about time that this would stop! And that sparked riots that lasted multiple days and eventually gave birth to the modern LGBTQ rights movement and the boost for organizing LGBTQ pride marches on a large public scale.
The struggle for LGBT rights did not begin at Stonewall. There were several groups in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco that were already demonstrating for equality. The rebellion that took place in Stonewall ignited the fire so that the fight for equality would turn into a movement and shortly after, in the 1970s, would become a political action! The first LGBT Pride happened on Saturday the 27th of June in 1970 from Washington Square Park to the Water Tower. This date was chosen because of the events that happened in Stonewall the year before at the same period. The organizers also wanted to be noticed and heard by as many people as possible.This is why they chose the busy shopping street of the Michigan Avenue.
WHY WE NEED PRIDE
I have heard a lot of cliché questions in my life concerning Pride and questioning its importance. The questions are usually coming from straight cisgender people who are asking: “Why do you need Pride? Since you have such an event, then why don’t we organize a straight pride too?”. Well, the answer is simple! Look around you! We are living in a society where you can be judged and mistreated for who you love and for just being yourself. And that is the reason why Pride is mandatory. Don’t you think so? Imagine living in a world where you may lose your job because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, where you can be bullied, attacked and assaulted just because you are not attracted by the opposite sex. A world where you cannot hold hands with the person you love, you are not able to kiss the person that means everything to you. Just because you are going to be talked about, judged, cursed at, attacked and even might get killed. I bet you could not stand it even for a minute. Welcome to our world!
You are Not Alone.
Pride is an essential event for all of us. There are a lot of people within the community confessing that when they were young, there were times in their life where being gay felt wrong and even felt like there was no one else like them. Because of their different sexuality they felt like they didn’t belong. Pride is an event where you can meet people that think the same way you do and suddenly you know that “you are not alone”. Pride brings people together. Celebrating and fighting for the same cause. It’s a worldwide party celebrating freedom, fighting for our rights in the most beautiful way. And there is still a long way to go! We need to stand for everyone that is not able to stand for themselves. Because we are one!
We need to change the Law.
Pride is an opportunity to challenge homophobic and transphobic legislation. There are 69 countries where being homesexual or transgender is illegal. In these countries there are laws that criminalize acts of homosexuality. Around 28 countries recognise same-sex marriages, and 34 others provide for some partnership recognition for same-sex couples. What is really important is that 82 countries have laws against discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation. And that’s what we have achieved by fighting for our rights!
Did you know that, according to 2012 Trans Mental Health Survey, 40% of trans people in Europe have attempted suicide at least once in their life? Did you know that 55% have been diagnosed with depression at some point? This needs to change! Our trans brothers and sisters need our support more than ever. There are millions of reports of trans people that have experienced public ridicule, harassment, and misgendering. They have been threatened to death. A high percentage report being ,also, victims of sexual and physical violence. Some are refused healthcare or suffer discrimination at the workplace, including being fired for being transgender.
We need Pride! As long as there is even one LGBTQIA+ child out there that thinks suicide is a solution…We need to fight for them. We need to fight for those who can’t! We need to let them know that it gets better and it will get better!