Pride Day is observed on June 1 annually followed by the pride month which covers the entire June. The day intends to pay tribute to those involved in the Stonewall Riots.
What is Pride?
Pride is a celebration of LGBTQIA+ identity and the freedom, beauty and wonder that comes from simply loving who you want to love, no matter how you express your gender. LGBTQIA+ Pride is meant to celebrate the dignity and joy in the representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, non-binary, non-conforming and pansexual persons, as well as anyone else who doesn’t necessarily fit into cisgender and heteronormative boxes. The term “pride” is a deliberate one, as it directly counters the feelings of shame and guilt, as well as the stigma that is often slapped onto LGBTQIA+-identifying people.
What is the history behind Pride Month?
On a hot summer’s night in New York on June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, which resulted in bar patrons, staff, and neighborhood residents rioting onto Christopher Street outside. Among the many leaders of the riots was black, trans, bisexual woman, Marsha P. Johnson — leading the movement to continue over six days with protests and clashes. The message was clear; protestors demanded the establishment of places where LGBT+ people could go and be open about their sexual orientation without fear of arrest.
Pride Month is largely credited as being started by bisexual activist, Brenda Howard. Known as, “The Mother of Pride,” a year after the Stonewall Riots, Brenda organized Gay Pride Week and the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade. This eventually morphed into what we now know as the New York City Pride March, and from where parades and marches across the world evolved.
Several parades and campaigns are conducted on this day across the globe. This year, due to the spread of the coronavirus all these parades, campaigns and events have been cancelled.
Where are the most famous Pride parades?
The most famous Pride parades are NYC Pride in New York City; LA Pride, San Diego Pride, Palm Springs Pride and San Francisco Pride in California; New Orleans Pride; Capital Pride in Washington, D.C.; Taiwan Pride in Taipei; Reykjavík Pride in Iceland; Amsterdam Pride; Mexico City Pride; London Pride; Madrid Pride; Tel Aviv Pride; Thessaloniki Pride in Greece; Zürich Pride; Toronto Pride; São Paulo Pride and Oslo Pride.
Pride Parade and India:
In India, the first Pride Parade was held in Kolkata on 2nd July 1999, called the Kolkata Rainbow Pride Walk, it is also the oldest Pride march in South Asia. Even though it saw participation from other cities like Mumbai and Bangalore, there were still only about 15 participants in total – none of them women.
Pride marches were being held exclusively in Kolkata in the years 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2005. In 2008, Bengaluru, Delhi and Puducherry held coordinated marches with Kolkata. It had participation from close to 2500 people. There have been disruptions by the BJP(Bhartiya Janta Party) but mostly they ran smoothly. The then Prime Minister’s appeal in favour of LGBTQIA+ rights, along with the Delhi High Court’s ruling decriminalising homosexuality in 2009, was a major push forward.
2018 was an especially jubilant year for pride parades in India as the draconian section 377 was struck down that year. The LGBTQIA+ community all over the country marched again as relatively freer citizens in 2018.