6-colored rainbow Pride Flag

Pride Month

Pride Month is celebrated during the month of June each year by the LGBTQIA+ community and allies. It initially commemorated the raid and ensuing riot at Christopher Street’s Stonewall Inn in 1969: A galvanizing and pivotal national moment for the LGBTQIA+ community, and its aspirations for equality and basic human rights.
Progress Pride Flag-includes 6 colors of regular Pride Flag plus added colors for people of color and trans community
Pride Month is a wide-ranging month-long celebration that includes everything from parades, marches, picnics, concerts, bowling events, festivals, and commemorations. It is a time to reflect on the successes of the LGBTQIA+ community to attain equal rights, to acknowledge the work that lies ahead to fulfill basic human rights still not granted, and to highlight the positive local and national impacts the LGBTQIA+ community has had. Memorials are also held to commemorate those lost to hate and the HIV/AIDS disease.    

(Image: Wikimedia Commons; Paul2520, CC BY-SA 4.0) The “Progress Flag” was designed by Daniel Quasar.
He altered the 2017 Philadelphia Pride Flag that had included a black and brown stripe representing people
of color in the LGBT community, and he merged it with the Trans Pride Flag to yield the Progress Flag shown.

A Brief History

The Stonewall Inn was re-opened as a private gay bar in 1966 and was one of many Mafia-controlled gay clubs in Greenwich Village. As a private club, they did not require a liquor license from the State Liquor Authority who would not authorize liquor licenses for bars that openly served the gay community or had gay employees. Young gay men, lesbians, drag queens and transgender women came to drink, dance, and gather together. Though the Stonewall Inn was a private club and Mafia police pay-offs were common, raids by the local police were still routinely done though it was noted that the owners often knew ahead of time of the raids. Since the gay community was harassed by police regularly, bars like the Stonewall Inn were often the only place to come together for refuge. For example, the “three-article rule” (also called the three-piece law), targeted people who wore articles of clothing not belonging to their respective sex and was used to harass and arrest members of the gay community. Though the term “club” is used here to describe the Stonewall Inn it was far from a “nice club”. As a Mafia-run club, corners were cut to increase profits. For example, the bar did not have access to running water so glasses were not cleaned between customers, and the bar was blamed for a hepatitis outbreak. The alcohol was watered down and possibly bootlegged. It was noted that the Mafia would blackmail individuals who were recognized as being wealthy with the threat of “outing” them. At that time, members of the gay community were routinely fired, treated as second class citizens, harassed in the workplace, threatened with violence, and publicly humiliated so the threat of outing an individual carried significance.

On June 24, 1969, rather than a raid by the local police precinct, the NYPD’s First Division police raided the club. After the club re-opened, a few days later the police raided again on Saturday, June 28, 1969. Rather than the usual raid in the early

Stonewall Inn with a large Pride Flag displayed above the entrance
Matt Green from “The Evolution of the Pride Parade, From Somber March to Celebration”
evening hours when the club had fewer patrons and less alcohol had been served, the raid occurred at 1:20am. The typical raids only had a small number of police present and usually the crowds were dispersed. On this occasion staff were placed in a backroom, transvestites were kept within the bar for more thorough questioning, and the other patrons where lined up by the exits to be released after showing IDs. On this evening, the attendees after being released did not leave and instead gathered outside to wait for other attendees to be released from the bar. When the police vans came to the bar and police became more aggressive and beat some of those being arrested, the crowd became agitated, started throwing objects, and resulted in what is referred to as the Stonewall Riots (also known as the Stonewall Uprising or Rebellion).

The New York Times reported on June 29, 1969:

“Hundreds of young men went on a rampage in Greenwich Village shortly after 3A.M. yesterday after a force of plain­clothes men raided a bar. . . The young men threw bricks, bottles, garbage, pennies and a parking meter at the policemen, who had a search warrant authorizing them in investigate reports that liquor was sold illegally at the bar, the Stonewall Inn, 53 Christopher Street, just off Sheridan Square. Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine said that a large crowd formed in the square after being evicted from the bar. . . The police estimated that 200 young men had been expelled from the bar. The crowd grew to close to 400 during the melee, which lasted about 45 minutes, they said.”

The crowd was eventually dispersed. However, later that evening, the crowd re-gathered chanting “Gay Power!” and “Liberate Christopher Street!”. The crowds again returned over the next several days to protest and demonstrate. Later in 1969 after the riots had ended, activists from Greenwich Village started to organize to create spaces where gay individuals could gather without being arrested. This early organizing led to the formation of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) which connected or aligned with other protest movements (e.g., The Black Panthers, The Students for a Democratic Society, etc.). As different approaches and strategies were tried, members left some organizations to form new groups including the Gay Activist Alliance (GAA) which focused solely on gay civil rights. Nationally, other groups were also organizing, growing, and then sometimes fading over time as different strategies were tried and various goals accepted or rejected by their members. One activist and visible member of Greenwich Village who intersected both the trans community and people of color was Marsha P. Johnson who was at the Stonewall Riot and later with Sylvia Rivera formed the Street Transvestite (now Transgender) Action Revolutionaries (STAR) to support the homeless gay population: The first LGBTQ+ youth shelter in the United States and lead by trans women of color. (On February 1, 2020, East River State Park was renamed Marsha P. Johnson State Park in recognition of her efforts.)

Efforts to remember and celebrate the first anniversary of the riots fell to many individuals including Brenda Howard, one of the key leaders of the effort to celebrate the significance of the Stonewall Uprising. One of her ideas was to create a week-long celebration rather than a single day event. Another organizer, L. Craig Schoonmaker, came up with the slogan for the event, “Pride”, with the official chant “Say it loud, gay is proud.” Ms. Howard’s, Mr. Schoomaker’s, and others’ efforts resulted in the first Christopher Street Liberation Day March that occurred on June 28, 1970 with a crowd estimated at between 1,000 and 10,000 people. An introspective article by Andrew Soloman of the NY Times in 2019, “The First New York Pride March Was an Act of ‘Desperate Courage'” highlights the importance of this first march.

“When we hear of Pride marches today, we tend to think of fuss and feathers . . . But Pride was not always so unabashedly celebratory; for a long time, it was a radical assault on mainstream values, a means to defy the belief that homosexuality was a sin, an illness and a crime, that gay people were subhuman. . .

So I come to these photographs abashed. I admire the people, braver than I, who were out for the first march. I feel such gratitude that these men and women had the wherewithal to declare themselves when doing so was still so acutely dangerous. I have benefited from their willingness to fight scorn with scorn. There is a righteousness even in the photos of people who seem to be there for a good time. . .”

The people gathered in these photos reflect a time when it took tremendous courage to march. They were breaking the only tested model then available for queers (the word was still an insult at that time), which was secrecy.”

“I have never marched for Pride before, but I am joining this year’s parade. Numbers matter more than ever. . . We owe something to the men and women in these photos, who were unafraid to resist what seemed like an intractable bigotry, and whose desperate courage won us the better world in which we go forth today.

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If you or someone you know is struggling with their gender identity, sexual orientation, or coming out or need to report an incident here are some places that can support you or them:

On Campus

Gender and Sexuality Campus Center (123 Red Gym)

University Health Services (UHS) (333 East Campus Mall)

24-hour Crisis Services (608-265-5600, option 9 or call 9-1-1)

Reporting Incidents

Off Campus

The Trevor Project

  • Trevor Lifeline (866-488-7386) is a crisis intervention and suicide prevention phone service available 24/7/365
  • TrevorChat is a confidential online instant messaging with a Trevor Counselor available 24/7
  • TrevorText (text START to 678-678) is a confidential text messaging with a Trevor counselor available 24/7/365

The Trans Lifeline Hotline

  • A peer support phone service (877-565-8860) run by trans people for our trans and questioning peers. Call us if you need someone trans to talk to, even if you’re not in crisis or if you’re not sure you’re trans.

It Gets Better Project

  • The It Gets Better Project’s mission is to uplift, empower, and connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth around the globe.

National Runaway Safeline

  • 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929), you can connect with a trusted, compassionate person who will listen and help you create a plan to address your concerns.
  • Live Chat connects you with a member of the trusted and compassionate NRS Crisis Services team will listen in real time and help you create a plan to address your concerns.

Key Dates in History

Key Dates

For brevity’s sake, below is only a small and incomplete sampling of some key LGBTQIA+ events/inflection points that occurred only in the United States over the last 60+ years.

January 13, 1958 – One Inc. v. Olesen
“The U.S. Post Office and the FBI deemed One: The Homosexual Magazine, a lesbian, gay, and bisexual publication, obscene, and as such could not be delivered via U.S. mail. The publishers of the magazine sued, and lost both the first case and the appeal. The Supreme Court accepted the case and reversed it, marking the first time the Supreme Court ruled in favor of homosexuals.”
Beth Rowen, “Important Supreme Court Decisions in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History”

June 28, 1969 – Stonewall Inn Riot
The Stonewall Inn in New York was raided by police on June 28, 1969. Typical raids ended quickly and without any long-term ramifications. This raid ended with a riot followed by social demonstrations over the next few days. “The Stonewall riots changed the direction of the gay movement, taking it from several independently run nascent organizations sprinkled throughout the country to becoming a full-fledged national social equality movement that people could identify with and organize around.”
Jamie Scot, “Photos: Remembering the Birth of Pride”

June 28, 1970 – Christopher Street Liberation Day MarchMarchers in New York during the 1970 Christopher Street Liberation Day March
The Christopher Street Liberation Day March was held on June 28, 1970 in Greenwich Village and Central Park of Manhattan to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising. During the march, the crowd chanted, “Say it clear, say it loud. Gay is good, gay is proud”. After the march a post-parade “Gay-In” in Central Park was held.
Fred Sargeant, “1970: A First-Person Account of the First Gay Pride March”
(Image W. Staff, “A Visual History of NYC Pride in 10 Landmark Image”)

December 15, 1973 – The American Psychiatric Association
The APA eliminates homosexuality from its list of mental disorders from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.
Jack Drescher, “Out of DSM: Depathologizing Homosexuality”

November 3, 1974 – Elaine Noble elected as Massachusetts state legislator
“Elaine Noble becomes the first openly gay person to be elected as a state legislator; she served in the Massachusetts State House of Representatives for two terms.”
“LGBTQ Rights Timeline in American History”, Teaching LGBTQ History: Instructional Resources for California Educators, Students, and Families

June 25, 1978 – The Pride Flag
The original Pride Flag was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978. He was asked to create a symbol for the LGBTQIA+ community by activist Harvey Milk. The original Baker Pride Flag had 8 colors rather than the more commonly seen one today with 6 colors. The flag Baker made had been lost for ~40 years and was discovered in a box after he had passed away as discussed on Action News, ABC 6, Philadelphia, PA. Hear in this short news account how he made the flag and what the different colors signified to Gilbert Baker.
Gilbert Baker 8-colored flag with each color's significance identifiedPink = Sex
Red = Life
Orange = Healing
Yellow = Sunlight
Green = Nature
Turquoise = Magic
Blue = Serenity
Purple = Spirit

(Image: Public Domain Wikimedia Commons; Gilbert Baker (Vector graphics by Fibonacci).
The above “8-striped Pride Flag” was the original Pride Flag designed by Gilbert Baker.)

June 30, 1986 – Bowers v. Hardwick
“The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that consenting adults do not have a constitutional right to engage in homosexual acts in private, upholding a Georgia law. The majority said the ‘right of privacy’ under the Due Process Clause does not give homosexuals the right to engage in sodomy. The ‘right to privacy’ protects intimate marital and familial relations, but the Court said it does not cover gay sodomy because ‘no connection between family, marriage, or procreation on the one hand and homosexual activity on the other has been demonstrated.’ This decision, considered a serious blow to the gay-rights movement, was overturned in 2003’s Lawrence v. Texas decision.”
Beth Rowen, “Important Supreme Court Decisions in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History”

February 28, 1994 – “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT)”
The policy signed by President Clinton forbid discrimination or harassment of closeted gay service members, and prohibited any openly gay person from serving in the military.

May 20, 1996 – Romer v. Evans
“In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court struck down Colorado’s Amendment 2, which denied gays and lesbians protections against discrimination, calling them ‘special rights.’ According to Justice Anthony Kennedy, “We find nothing special in the protections Amendment 2 withholds. These protections . . . constitute ordinary civil life in a free society.”
Beth Rowen, “Important Supreme Court Decisions in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History”

April 1, 2001 – Netherlands legalizes same-sex marriage
32 countries now allow same-sex marriage:

Netherlands (2001), Belgium (2003), Canada (2005), Spain (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2008), Sweden (2009), Argentina (2010), Iceland (2010), Portugal (2010), Denmark (2012), Brazil (2013), England (2013), France (2013), New Zealand (2013), Uruguay (2013), Wales (2013), Scotland (2014), Finland (2015), Greenland (2015), Ireland (2015), Luxembourg (2015), United States (2015), Columbia (2016), Australia (2017), Germany (2017), Malta (2017), Austria (2019), Ecuador (2019), Northern Ireland (2019), Taiwan (2019), Costa Rica (2020)

June 26, 2003 – Lawrence v. Texas
“The Supreme Court, 6-3, overruled a Texas sodomy law and voted 5-4 to overturn 1986’s Bowers v. Hardwick decision. ‘The state cannot demean their [gays’] existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime,’ wrote Justice Kennedy in the majority opinion. In his dissent to Lawrence v. Texas, Justice Scalia said the court has ‘largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda.'”
Beth Rowen, “Important Supreme Court Decisions in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History”

December 22, 2010 – “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repealed
President Obama signing ceremony repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell(Image: Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
The repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” permits openly gay service members in the military. “We are a nation that says, ‘Out of many, we are one.’ We are a nation that welcomes the service of every patriot. We are a nation that believes that all men and women are created equal. Those are the ideals that generations have fought for. Those are the ideals that we uphold today. And now, it is my honor to sign this bill into law.” President Obama

June 26, 2013 – United States v. Windsor
“The Supreme Court ruled that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. In a 5-4 vote, the court ruled that DOMA violated the rights of gays and lesbians. The court also ruled that the law interferes with the states’ rights to define marriage. It was the first case ever on the issue of gay marriage for the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. voted against striking it down as did Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. However, conservative-leaning Justice Anthony M. Kennedy voted with his liberal colleagues to overturn DOMA.”
Beth Rowen, “Important Supreme Court Decisions in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History”

June 26, 2015 – Obergefell v. Hodges
The White House at night bathed in rainbow colored lights“This was the Supreme Court case that made banning same-sex marriage in any state illegal in the United States. . . The 5-4 decision in favor of marriage equality stated that under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause the states must provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples and must recognize marriages that were legally licensed and performed in other states.”
Beth Rowen, “Important Supreme Court Decisions in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History”
(Image: Barack Obama Presidential Library)

June 24, 2016 – Stonewall Inn Named a National MonumentPlaque on the Stonewall Inn New York stating it is a New York State Historic Site
“President Obama formally recognized that history [of Stonewall Inn], declaring the Greenwich Village bar and its surrounding area the Stonewall National Monument, and creating the first National Park Service unit dedicated to the gay rights movement.”
Eli Rosenberg, “Stonewall Inn Named National Monument, a First for the Gay Rights Movement”
(Image by: Grace.Mahony, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)

Learn More!

Learn More

General Information

Christopher Street Liberation Day March and the Stonewall Inn Riot

Gender Terms, Pronouns, and Flags

The Struggle Continues for the LGBTQ+ Community
(Image by: Dlloyd, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
Transgender Flag with 5 stripes and 3 colors

Never Forget