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The School Newspaper of Harriton High School

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June is Pride Month: Joy vs. Hate 


What is Pride Month about? It commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City and celebrates the LGBTQ community and the fight for equal rights.

The Stonewall Uprising began on June 28, 1969, when NYC police raided the Stonewall Inn, a prominent gay bar in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. The police had a history of frequently raiding gay bars and beating and arresting the patrons. On that fateful day in June 1969, the Stonewall’s patrons fought back. Crowds of bystanders and neighborhood residents tried to help the patrons resist the police. The commotion led to riots and protests over the next six days, and developed into a landmark rebellion that catalyzed the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.

When was Pride Month created? On June 28, 1970, on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, thousands of people marched from Christopher Street, the location of the Stonewall Inn, to Central Park in New York City. This march is widely considered to be the first Pride parade in the U.S.

In June 2000, President Bill Clinton officially designated June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month in recognition of the Stonewall Riots and gay activism throughout the years. A more inclusive name was chosen in 2009 by President Barack Obama: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.

What events take place during Pride Month? Pride celebrations include parades, festivals, picnics, and special events, held in different cities across America. For example, the “Philly Pride Festival 2024” was on June 2. The event began with the Pride March through Center City. The march ended at a vibrant festival in Philly’s Midtown Village neighborhood – affectionately known as the Gayborhood – featuring food vendors, family fun activities, and LGBTQ+ resources. A “Pride at the Park” festival was held in Narberth Park on June 24, 2023. The organizers stated their mission was “to create a welcoming, educational, youth-led celebration for Narberth, Lower Merion Township, and surrounding areas by featuring LGBTQIA+ and allied artists, performers, organizations, and businesses.”

The joy: Pride month around the U.S. and some parts of the world is a season intended to celebrate the lives and experiences of LGBTQ communities and to protest against attacks on hard-won civil rights gains. The organizers of the Philly Pride Festival 2023 stated that their goal was “to keep our attendees engaged in the core if not the most principal tenet of pride…. joy.”

The hate: Millions of LGBTQ Americans have participated in Pride celebrations against a backdrop of increasing attacks, both online and offline. Jay Ulfelder, a political and data scientist at Harvard University, has been tracking anti-LGBTQ demonstrations. The data shows that incidents in 2022 clearly increased about 30-fold, compared to 2017.

In April 2023, neo-Nazis showed up waving swastikas and a sign reading, “There will be blood” at an LGBTQIA+ fundraiser in Columbus, Ohio, according to Jen Kuhn of Kaleidoscope, a local queer youth organization.

In May 2023, Target reported that it was removing some products that celebrate Pride Month after the company and its employees became the focus of a “volatile” anti-LGBTQ campaign. The company reported, “Threats against employees impacted their sense of safety and well-being.” For a decade, Target has celebrated Pride Month in and around June. The company has offered more than 2,000 products, including clothing, books, music, and merchandise with rainbow flags and other symbols of gay rights as part of its Pride Collection, Reuters reports. The company told the Wall Street Journal that people have confronted workers in stores, knocked down Pride merchandise displays, and put threatening posts on social media. Some people have thrown Pride items on the floor, Target spokesperson Kayla Castaneda told Reuters.

GLAAD, an LGBTQ advocacy organization, recorded eight instances of 2023 Pride events that had to modify their plans due to threats of violence, according to spokesperson Angela Dallara. Half of them were in Florida, where event organizers had to increase security.

On June 6, 2023, violence erupted amongst protesters gathered outside the headquarters of the Glendale Unified School District of Los Angeles County. Hundreds of people had gathered to show their support for, or opposition to, the school district’s LGBTQ policies.

Terra Russell-Slavin, chief impact officer of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, said in a statement to NBC News, “Despite the uproar happening outside of the meeting, the School Board was simply voting on whether or not Glendale Unified should recognize June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. What should have been an amicable meeting … turned into a shelter-in-place order that frightened participants.”

According to the Glendale Police Department, three arrests were made as protesters violently clashed outside the school district building. Several reports surfaced online that the crowds were infiltrated by members of the Proud Boys, an exclusively male, far-right extremist group that promotes and engages in political violence. Eventually, after 6 p.m., the Glendale Police Department issued a dispersal order for the entire protest, which had become a violent mob. The Glendale school board finally voted unanimously to recognize June as Pride Month.

The future: Pride Month will endure! In the United States, a rise in bloodshed, killings, and threats at Pride and other gay events and gatherings highlights the hate still targeted at the LGBTQ community, long after the Stonewall Uprising of 1969.

Gay Pride events are vital protests against the violence and oppression the LGBTQ community still faces. Pride Month is also an annual celebration of the many significant contributions made by the LGBTQ community to history, society, and cultures in the U.S. and worldwide.

“When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.” –  President Barack Obama.


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