Throughout the year, people around the world gather and stand united to support LGBT pride. There are many days of observation, commemoration and celebration, including an entire month dedicated to raising awareness for the LGBT community. Known as Pride Month, the events held throughout June work to continue achieving equality for those in the LGBT community and to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots that were one of the defining moments in gay pride history.
At Alder Health Services, we strive to preserve the physical and emotional well-being of the LGBT community. Our compassionate staff devotes their time, knowledge and experience to providing integrated health services in a supportive, non-judgmental environment. Pride Month is a uniquely empowering time of the year for our staff and clients. We invite those unfamiliar with this celebration of gay, bi and trans pride to learn more about LGBT Pride Month and discover ways you can join these festivities around the country.
What Is Pride?
Pride is a feeling of satisfaction in one’s self. It’s possible to define it in a collective context as the confidence and self-respect expressed by members of a group who share similar identities, cultures or experiences. When we discuss the concept of gay pride, it means not only positive acceptance of yourself as an individual who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, but also a sense of honor or fulfillment in belonging to the greater LGBT community as a whole.
Gay pride is a movement as much as it a celebration of individuality. Demonstrating pride in everyday life is a way of protesting the injustices, violence and inequities many in the LGBT community faced in the past and present. Pride raises awareness for issues the LGBT community continues to encounter, advocates for equal rights, promotes self-affirmation and encourages society to actively prevent the discrimination and violence that still occurs.
There are many diverse ways to showcase LGBT pride. Gestures like sporting the gay pride flag, advocating for policy changes that positively impact the gay community and supporting other LGBT individuals by embracing and accepting them for who they are in all contexts are all symbolic victories in the progress for global gay pride awareness. Many events throughout the year, like parades, festivals and demonstrations, support LGBT causes, and one of the most prominent by far is National LGBT Pride Month.
When Is Pride Month?
Men and women from many different walks of life celebrate LGBT pride daily. Though every day is an opportunity to honor the beauty and uniqueness of who you are, June is the most special month for many in the LGBT community. Throughout the nation, people celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month — or LGBT Pride Month, for short. We also celebrate the final Sunday in June nationally as Gay Pride Day.
Whom Does Pride Month Celebrate?
June has received national recognition — privately and publicly via a proclamation from the White House — as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. Though the phrasing of this declaration specifically highlights four terms of identification within the LGBT community, it is not an exhaustive list of those whom Pride Month celebrates. How an individual identifies themselves is essential, and one of the most meaningful objectives of Pride Month is to ensure all people — no matter how they choose to identify themselves — feel accepted and embraced by their communities.
Pride Month celebrates all those who identify as one or more of the LGBT+ gender or sexuality descriptions, including those who are:
Though this is not the full list of terms people use to identify their gender or sexuality, it does include those who Pride Month also celebrates. Pride Month does not exclude anyone based on gender or sexuality, which is why the festivities in June are equally open to those who are still exploring their identities. Even for those who identify as straight and cisgender, Pride Month celebrates allies of the LGBT+ community who continue to support and advocate for genuine, unbiased equality.
History of Pride Month: How Did Pride Month Start?
LGBT Pride Month traces its roots to an event that occurred in New York City. On June 28, 1969, police raided an NYC gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. This venue in Greenwich Village had developed a reputation as being a haven where those in the LGBT community could dance with members of the same sex without being harassed or fearful of judgment. Unfortunately, police raids on gay bars were frequent around the country during this period of history. The patrons of the Stonewall Inn, however, did not take the raid passively.
A black transgender woman named Marsha P. Johnson had been celebrating her 25th birthday at the Stonewall Inn that night, and history recognizes her as the person who first fought back against the police. Johnson, along with other patrons, resisted this wrongful arrest. As the confrontation escalated, bystanders outside of the bar began throwing objects like bottles at the police officers. For the next few days, the community drastically protested against years of unjust harassment by the authorities. This reaction became known as the Stonewall Riots and prompted a national rights movement.
A year later, a bisexual activist named Brenda Howard, who today is known as the “Mother of Pride,” organized the first Pride parade to honor the Stonewall Riots. Today, Howard’s single parade has blossomed into thousands of events throughout June that celebrate LGBT culture in every corner of the country. It was also during the 1970s that people first coined and began using the phrase “gay pride.”
Other Key Events in the History of Pride
The Stonewall Riots was the first of many watershed moments in the LGBT community’s fight for equality. Within a year following the riots, the LGBT community around the country took collective action. Over the last five decades, LGBT rights have increased, and many contexts now accept the LGBT community, including the appointment of openly gay individuals to public office. Here are some of the significant milestones that followed the Stonewall Riots and dramatically increased equality for the LGBT community.
- 1970: The first pride parade was held.
- 1973: Lambda Legal establishes itself as the first legal organization that advocates for the rights of lesbian and gay individuals.
- 1973: The American Psychiatric Association’s SM-II Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders removes sex between two people of the same gender as a mental health problem.
- 1974: Voters elect Elaine Nobel to state office as the first openly gay candidate.
- 1978: American artist and gay pride activist Gilbert Baker creates the first rainbow pride flag.
- 1982: Wisconsin outlaws sexual orientation discrimination.
- 1995: The Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act passes.
- 2000: Vermont legalizes same-sex civil unions.
- 2011: The U.S. military lifts the ban on openly gay men and lesbians serving in the military.
- 2015: Same-sex marriage is legalized in all fifty U.S. states.
- 2016: The Stonewall National Monument becomes the first national monument dedicated to LGBT rights.
The Rainbow Flag
Soon after the Stonewall Riots saw the birth of an iconic symbol for gay pride. Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to hold a high position in public office, encouraged an artist named Gilbert Baker to create something positive to represent the gay community. The goal of this flag was to serve as an alternative to the pink triangle, a reclaimed symbol the Nazis used as a sign of persecution. Baker created the rainbow flag, with each of the eight colors representing a separate concept.
- Hot pink: Sexuality
- Red: Life
- Orange: Healing
- Yellow: Sun
- Green: Nature
- Turquoise: Art
- Indigo: Harmony
- Violet: Spirit
Baker said this flag is more than a symbol, and that displaying the rainbow flag in any capacity is taking action to support the LGBT community. Over time, the flag’s design evolved to be only six colors, having removed hot pink and indigo. The most recent version of the flag now incorporates black and brown stripes to represent people of color in the LGBT community. Today, both six- and eight-striped flags are available. Some also feature the pink triangle. Whether you wear it as a small patch on a jacket or fly it proudly outside of a home or business, the rainbow flag is a global symbol of gay pride.
Celebrating Pride Month
The root of LGBT Pride Month is the unconditional acceptance of who a person is at heart, without passing judgment on whom they choose to open their heart to. It is a showcase of love in every sense of the word. The beauty of this annual observation is that celebrating Pride Month is not an exclusive event. All are welcome — those within the LGBT community as well as those who support, embrace and accept this community.
How and Where to Find Pride Month Celebrations
When people celebrate Pride Month, they’re gathering to acknowledge two important facts — how much progress the LGBT community has made since the Stonewall Riots, and how much they still need to go to achieve the equal rights they deserve. Many cities and towns in the United States celebrate Pride Month in a variety of different ways, including:
- Family-friendly activities
Nearly every state and city around the country has some form of LGBT Pride celebration throughout the year. Some of the largest and most notable events take place during Pride Month in the following states.
- New York: The Big Apple hosted the first-ever LGBT Pride event in 1970. The parade that honored the Stonewall Riots has evolved into an annual celebration that draws millions of people from around the world.
- Illinois: Chicago celebrates Pride from mid- to late June, which includes a unique celebration of Chicago LGBTQ Black Pride.
- California: San Francisco has played a part in LGBT history, specifically in transgender activism. Their annual Pride Celebration honors trans history and the riots that inspired social change.
- Rhode Island: In mid-June, Providence hosts Rhode Island Pride. This celebration started in the 1970s and features one of the only after-dark illuminated Pride parades in the country.
Though Pride Month is just one of the many ways the United States recognizes gay pride, our country is not alone in hosting these annual events. Communities around the world celebrate gay pride. As our global society becomes more accepting of the LGBT community, new pride events get scheduled each year. Some of the best events around the world that champion diversity and inclusion include the following.
- Canada: The Toronto Pride is now one of the largest LGBT celebrations on the planet. As with many cities in the United States, Toronto’s Pride events take place during June.
- Ireland: Dublin Pride is another LGBT celebration taking place in June. This week-long celebration is one of the largest events in the country and has continued to grow since Ireland legalized same-sex marriage in 2015.
- The Netherlands: The LGBT community has enjoyed hundreds of years of acceptance in the Netherlands, and the Amsterdam Pride festival in August is just one of the many LGBT events this country hosts.
- Australia: LGBT celebrations, known locally as the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, take over the city from mid-February to mid-March each year.
- Mexico: The celebration of LGBT pride in Puerto Vallarta throughout May makes the city a popular international destination for LGBT visitors and allies to take part in fun parades and parties.
Pride Month Events in Central PA
For nearly three decades, the annual Pride Festival of Central PA attracts thousands from around the country to Harrisburg for a weekend that promotes awareness of LGBT communities. This event evolved from the Open Air parade of the late 1980s, which was the first-ever gay pride event in the area. Today, we continue to gather as a united community and celebrate the LGBT+ liberation that began half a century ago!
Alder Health Services is proud to call Harrisburg our home and admires the city’s dedication to serving and celebrating the LGBT community during Pride Month. We invite you to join your family members, friends and neighbors at the Pride Festival of Central PA or another one of the annual LGBT events throughout the state.
LGBT-Friendly Health Care
Pride is more than a feeling, and LGBT Pride Month is more than an observation commemorating the history of gay pride. As an LGBT-friendly health care provider in Harrisburg, we know those in the LGBT community showcase pride in ways that are as unique as their personalities. We believe having pride in yourself also means preserving and protecting your physical, mental and emotional health.
Alder Health Services is ready to provide you with the comprehensive health care you need in a supportive, non-judgmental environment. We offer primary care, which includes routine physicals, immunizations, sexual health services and chronic illness management. Alder Health’s compassionate physicians and staff also provide transgender health services, including hormone therapy, gender-affirming health care, sexual health services, family planning services, STD/HIV testing and behavioral therapy.
Everyone deserves access to person-centered care that is catered to preserve their well-being. Alder Health Services is proud to support members of the LGBTQ community by providing the comprehensive health care services they need. We have tailored our primary care, case management and behavioral health services to the unique needs of the LGBTQ community. By using integrated services that adopt a holistic view of health care, we have committed our practice to improving the lives of the LGBTQ community in Harrisburg.
To learn more about our LGBT-friendly health care services, contact Alder Health Services today.