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The History of Pride


By Roudraksh Jankee

The Celebration of Pride Month

The contemporary Pride movement in the Western World carries a narrative of celebration, but Pride started as a movement for the liberation of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

On the night of June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York, US, was raided by the police. Police brutality towards members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community was unfortunately common, but that night gave birth to an unusual resistance. Upon exiting the gay bar after arresting several individuals, the police faced a crowd gathered outside. Within moments, the resistance escalated into riots. The site History, lists, Marsha P. Johnson, and Sylvia Rivera, two transgender women of colour, as the ones to throw the first brick.

The Pride movement now takes place in the month of June of every year to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969.

Pride in the 21st Century

It is unfortunate that over the years, the Pride Movement that propelled gay/queer/trans activism is now often turned into an elitist event -- specifically in the West. The mainstream narrative around Pride is currently centered around white-masculine-muscular-rich-cisgender men. These narratives silence the struggles that queer individuals with intersecting identities experience and the ways in which they are disproportionately marginalised.

The western world dominates the discourse about and the narrative of queer activism. As capitalist and cis-hetero-patriarchal systems intersect to commodify Pride, the continuous oppression that the 2SLGBTQ+ community in colonised states face, remains overshadowed by Rainbow Capitalism.

The importance and relevance of Queer Liberation Movements

Members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community are still more likely to fall prey to discrimination, harassment, bullying and hate crimes.

In 2021, the UN lists 76 countries where homosexuality is criminalised

By the end of 2020, the Human Rights Campaign stated that they registered the highest number of fatal violence against transgender and gender-non-conforming individuals in the US, highlighting that “the majority of which were Black and Latinx transgender women.”

According to the Trevor Project, LGBTQ+ youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.

Legalisation of same-sex marriage does not mean equal rights.

In America, despite same sex marriage being legal in 50 states, Trump used his presidency to roll back 2SLGBTQ+ rights by banning transgender people from serving in the military and his education secretary has rolled back protection for 2SLGBTQ+ students.

In Canada, the intersecting impacts of transphobia, racism and sexism put transgender women of colour at utmost risk of HIV, hate crimes; findings by Trans pulse suggest that trans individuals in Canada are a medically underserved population.

Despite the UK receiving the highest score in Europe, with 86% progress toward “respect of equal rights and full equality” for 2SLGBTQ+ people in ILGA-Europe's 2015 review of 2SLGBTQ+ rights, recorded reports of homophobic abuse in the UK increased from 5,807 reports in 2014-15 to 13,530 reports in 2018-19.

Written by:

Roudraksh Jankee (He/Him)

Student Intern- EDI

4th Year BA: English Honours, Acadia University


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