Every June, rainbow flags are raised and celebrated for Pride month by the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies. Let’s give a quick rundown of the brief history of pride month.
The origins of pride month
For decades, pride month has been celebrated in June to honor LGBTQIA+ voices and experiences, but how did it begin?
It all started with the Stonewall Riot that happened on June 28, 1969, in New York City’s Greenwich Village. The police invasion of a gay club had caused city-wide protests and riots, where drag queens, gay men, and transgender people stood up to law enforcement for the first time. That marked a turning point for the LGBTQIA+ community.
At the time, homosexuality was illegal in most states in the United States, except Illinois in Chicago. Bars and restaurants could get shut down for having gay employees. Most gay bars were operating on dodgy grounds as many were controlled by the mafia, which also explains how the authorities sometimes turn a blind eye.
After riots and protests, the Stonewall Inn was declared a historic landmark and was made a national monument in 2016.
This month, we celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer persons as a social group with pride, self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increasing visibility, demonstrating how pride month should be alongside 123RF:
It’s all in the name: LGBTQIA+
After the adoption of the community’s acronym, LGB – lesbian, gay, bisexual – the transgender community was next to be embraced by the movement. Over time, the acronym for the community got more inclusive and eventually became LGBTQIA and even LGBTQQIP2SAA.
Confused but want to learn about what it means? Let us break it down for you once and for all:
The ‘L’ represents the lesbian community, where women are physically and emotionally attracted to other women.
The ‘G’ represents the gay community, where men are physically and emotionally attracted to other men.
The ‘B’ represents the bisexual community; the one attracted to both men and women.
The ‘T’ is for the transgender community, anyone that has a gender identity that is different from the sex assigned at birth.
The first ‘Q’ is for the queer community, for anyone who isn’t heterosexual. Lesbians, gays, and transgender people may all call themselves queer.
The ‘I’ represents the intersex community for those born with both male and female sexual anatomies. This is also known as hermaphroditism.
The ‘A’ represents the asexual community, which doesn’t experience any sexual attraction.
As for the longer acronym LGBTQQIP2SAA, it gets a little more specific and inclusive:
The second ‘Q’ was added later for those questioning their gender identity and sexual orientation.
The ‘P’ represents the pansexual community, which can be sexually and emotionally attracted to people regardless of gender.
The ‘2S’ refers to people who identify as having both masculine and feminine qualities.
The final ‘A’ represents the allies of the entire queer community, even though they are heterosexual and cisgender.
What’s in a rainbow flag?
The 6-color rainbow flag is a recognizable LGBTQIA+ flag that reflects the community's diversity and the broad spectrum of human sexuality and gender.
All credit goes to a gay artist and drag queen, Gilbert Baker, who was asked by the first openly gay elected official in the US, Harvey Milk, to create a flag for the community. Milk thought a flag was the most powerful symbol and thought it might be momentous to mark their existence and truth with a banner.
Before the 6-color rainbow, there was an original design. The original flag had eight colors and its own motif – hot pink for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for magic, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit.
But because of printing issues, they had to forego hot pink, turquoise, and indigo and settled for blue and red, creating the colors of a natural rainbow.
Aside from the rainbow flag, there are also plenty of pride flags that you might spot here and there. For example, the transgender flag comprises five horizontal stripes; two light blue for boys, two pinks for girls, and a strip of white in the center to represent those transitioning.
Pride month events to show solidarity
Every June, events are held to raise public awareness of current issues faced by the LGBTQIA+ community and recognize their influence and efforts across the globe.
During June, many peaceful protests, parades, and street parties will occur. Look out for the closest one near you, or show solidarity by sparking debates and educating others who might still be confused about the LGBTQIA+ community.
Aside from marches and parades, slam poetry readings are a great way to listen directly to the voices of the community and support their art.