What does Pride mean to you? What do you get most excited about during this month? Is it the parade? The comradery and connections? It can be whatever you need it to be. As it has taken many years and battles for us to be able to be who we are today, we must remember that every journey is different.
This year we are quite publicly celebrating 50 years since what is known as the Biggest step towards Queer Liberation; the Stonewall Riots on June 28, 1969. There were many important moments before and after this date that have led to the freedoms we have today, being able to celebrate Pride in 2019.
I was lucky to partake in planning Toronto Pride last year, as well as an international parade while travelling. The freedom to travel as a queer person without fear is a blessing I get to experience, as a “less visible” queer woman. Every year since the history of the Riots, our ability to live as we are becomes easier. With every movement, activist, and Pride parade, our community will be more accepted.
Let us remember the strong people who came before and after Marsha P Johnson. Who created the thoughts and opportunities who made it possible.
The first publication was ONE magazine founded in 1952, and was one of the first ways to share queer stories and news across the USA. At the time of Stonewall, there were less than 10 organizations for queer folx. Now there are over 70, with chapters in universities and work places.
In 1966, 3 years before Stonewall, Dick Leitsch, Craig Rodwell and Randy Wicker, John Timmons were actively partaking in a protest aptly named a sip-in. This group of gay men went around to bars in New York City hoping to find bars that would refuse to serve them. Julius’s bar was an unofficial gay bar, but they did not want such clientele. This was the first incident where the bartender refused them drinks, the media that were invited along the protest caught the moment.
Jeanne Manford marched with her son, Morty in the Liberation Day Parade (now Pride) in 1972. Her presence and sign got a lot of attention from young folx who asked her to speak to their parents. This started PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).
Today, I am proudly learning about my history, pathway builders and predecessors before me who have made it easier to live my life. I want to be a part of the story for future generations. Pride to me is building a safer space, community and representation for anyone who may need it.
What does Pride mean to you?
Happy Pride Month!