Naked
Truths

The History Of Pride

The History Of Pride

Tue, Jun 25, 19 - Emma Holmes

As pride month comes to an end and we mark the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, we’re looking back at the history of Pride, its heritage and origins. Pride is a month long celebration of the diversity of love, sexual orientation and gender, though it wasn’t always a joyous occasion. Pride began with a group of brave NYC LGBTQ+ locals resisting homophobic laws and police violence. 

Pride pays homage to the Stonewall Riots of 1969

The history of Pride begun in New York City in 1969, a time when homosexuality was illegal and highly criminalised. Beyond the physical act of having sexual relations with a person from the same sex, people were persecuted for the way they expressed themselves. Women could be arrested if they were ‘caught’ wearing less than three pieces of “feminine clothing’’ and anyone could be arrested for wearing clothes that ‘belonged’ to the opposite sex. This sounds archaic to say the least but all of this was happening a mere 50 years ago. Sadly the UK wasn’t any further along with equality. Homosexuality was partially decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967 with the The Sexual Offences Act, Scotland followed in 1980 and Northern Ireland in 1982. 

People were being persecuted for their sexuality on both sides of the pond. On June 28th in NYC, police arrived at Stonewall Inn in Greenwich village with the intention of raiding the gay bar. Instead of submitting to the homophobic violence, the 200 people inside resisted arrest and rioted for three days alongside gay residents of Greenwich. It was a courageous show of strength and one of the most powerful moments of resistance against homosexuality laws. 

Gay Pride was born in 1970 

Gay communities in the United States recognised the impact the Stonewall riots had and the attention it drew to their plight. A year on from the uprising, a committee formed to celebrate the Stonewall riots. In searching for an appropriate name for the revolutionary event the phrase ‘‘gay pride’’ was suggested by L. Craig Schoonmaker, who later discussed the reasoning behind it in a 2015 interview ‘’anyone can have pride in themselves, and that would make them happier as people, and produce the movement likely to produce change.’’

Pride Month

The Rainbow Flag was created in 1978 

We can’t imagine gay pride without its iconic symbol, the rainbow flag, though this wasn’t introduced to the LGBTQ+ community by Gilbert Baker until 1978. An artist in San Francisco, Baker designed the rainbow flag for a gay pride march. His version was built with high stripes, each symbolising a vibrant element of gay identity, ‘’hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony and violet for spirit.’’ The flag we see today has six stripes and it continues to represent the beautiful spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Rainbow Flag

Pride in the UK 

  • The United Kingdom hosted its first Gay Pride Rally in London, on 1st July 1972, 2,000 people marched from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park in celebration of the Stonewall riots of 1969. 
  • The London Gay Teenage Group was established in 1976 by Philip Cox and Paul Welch, it was the world’s first gay youth group. 
  • In 1990 the UK’s first gay Pride event was held in Manchester, followed by the first Pride festival in Brighton in 1992. In the same year Europride was born in London with over 100,000 people in attendance. 
  • ‘Pride London’ began in 2004, bringing with it the political rally that takes place each year after the parade in Trafalgar Square. 

Though it’s not directly Pride related, we would like to take this opportunity to recognise that in March 2014 the crown broke its lifetime of silence and publicly supported the LGBTQ+ community. Queen Elizabeth II praised the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard for the dedication and achievements, ‘Best wishes and congratulations to all concerned on this most special anniversary’. 

Happy Pride Beautiful 

Wherever you are in the world, we hope you’re having an incredible Pride month. We hope you know that however you identify and whoever you love, you have a right to live fearlessly and be ferociously yourself. We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community this month and every month until the end of time, because Love Is Love. 

LGBTQ