While events actually take place throughout the summer, June was chosen to remember the Stonewall Riots that broke out in Greenwich Village, New York City, on 28 June 1969 after police raided one of the city’s most popular gay clubs, prompting the regulars to fight back courageously in protest.
A year later, marchers coordinated by activist Brenda Howard and others gathered in New York to celebrate “Christopher Street Liberation Day”, alluding to the Manhattan address of the Stonewall Inn, which, along with parallel events in Los Angeles and San Francisco, marked the anniversary of a watershed moment in the history of LGBT+ rights.
An annual tradition was born, with more and more cities across the globe staging their own carnivals and street parades to celebrate gay, lesbian and trans culture.
US president Bill Clinton officially declared June “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month” in June 1999 before fellow Democrat Barack Obama extended its title to the more inclusive “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month” a decade later.
The movement has served an important campaigning role over the years, calling for the mainstream acceptance of sexual diversity and drawing attention to a range of rights issues and injustices associated with the cause.
Pride has made huge strides in securing rights and fairer representation for LGBT+ citizens and plays an important role in providing a platform from which the community can speak out against discrimination and prejudice.
But it still has work to do at a time when more than 70 countries around the world continuing to enforce homophobic legislation.
Turkish police dispersing a march in Istanbul with tear gas and rubber bullets in 2015 and banning the event in 2016 and 2017 outright on “security grounds” underlines the ongoing relevance of the demonstration.
More recent reports of homophobic violence being carried out in Chechnya and Indonesia and of white police violence against trans people of colour in the US further emphasise the need for education to encourage greater tolerance.
In the UK this summer, many Pride events have been pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic, around which so much uncertainty still reigns.
Oxford’s Pride event is all-online this year and takes place on Saturday 5 June.
Manchester Pride follows on Saturday 28 August with the Garden of Freedom as its theme, the event coinciding with Canal Street’s famous four-day party running from 27 to 30.
There’s also the Manchester Pride Live gig on the 28 and 29 with acts including Sigala, Katy B, Zara Larsson and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
For more information, check out the city’s Pride website, which warns that events are subject to the roadmap out of lockdown being allowed to proceed as planned.
Southampton Pride likewise takes place that same weekend while this year’s London Pride is scheduled for Saturday 11 September 2021 (also Covid permitting) and will see revellers marching through the West End, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square.
Visibility, Unity and Equality are this year’s themes.
Other notable events in the capital include the Pride at the Palace concert on 7 June and the London Trans+ Pride on 26 June – you can find out more on the capital’s official website.
Birmingham Pride takes place across the weekend of 25 and 26 September, again, barring further twists and turns in the corona saga.
But, sadly, there will be no Brighton Pride parade in 2021 after the seaside town’s festivities scheduled for 7 and 8 August were reluctantly cancelled because of the pandemic.
Organiser Paul Kemp said he was “devastated” by the decision but said those with tickets are entitled to a refund or can choose to donate their value to the Brighton Rainbow Fund or simply roll over their booking for next year’s festivities.
For the latest updates, visit the Brighton Pride website.
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