June is Pride Month in Canada. It is a celebration of the history, culture, and global contributions of the 2SLGBTQI+ (Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and additional sexual orientations and gender identities) community.
The history of Pride Month and why does it take place in June?
The early 1900s
The gay rights movement dates back to the early 1900s when a few activists in Europe and North America started organizations like the Society for Human Rights, which was founded by Henry Gerber in 1920s Chicago.
The post-war era
After World War II, groups like the Daughters of Bilitis and the Mattachine Society published newsletters and demanded recognition and equality for gays and lesbians. Despite some progress, gay, lesbian, and transgender people were largely denied civil rights in the post-war era. This led to the Stonewall Uprising.
The Stonewall Uprising
The month of June was chosen to be Pride Month as an homage to the Stonewall Uprising, also known as the Stonewall Riots, which took place in New York in June 1969. It was a clash between the police and the gay community at Manhattan’s Stonewall Inn and helped start the gay rights movement by taking it from a fringe issue to front-page news.
The first Pride parade
The first gay pride parade took place a year later in New York’s Central Park and was organized by the Christopher Street Liberation Day Umbrella Committee and the Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations (ERCHO). Activists marched through Manhattan streets in commemoration of the Stonewall Uprising in what was named the Christopher Street Liberation Day March. There were 3,000-5,000 participants and the march stretched over 51 blocks from Greenwich Village to Central Park. This celebration became known as the Gay Pride Parade over time. There were also marches in Chicago, San Francisco, ad Los Angeles that June.
Fostering equality and change
Pride Month highlights the continuing need for eradicating discrimination and for positive change. Prejudice and social stigma still affect the 2SLGBTQI+ community and Pride Month is a reminder that education, advocacy, and positive action are needed. Pride Month is a step towards a more inclusive future where 2SLGBTQI+ people are treated with respect and equality.
How to get involved in Pride Month 2023
There are many ways to get involved in Pride Month this year.
o The Action Plan advances rights and equality for the 2SLGBTQI+
Community. It takes a holistic approach to addressing inequities and was developed based on the voices and experiences of the 2SLGBTQI+ community and other stakeholders through an engagement process. It seeks to prevent discrimination and stigma based on sexual orientation, gender identity, sex characteristics, and gender expression.