By: Ashley Tulio, Communication Specialist
Pride is a month dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ2+ culture, supporting LGBTQ2+ rights and raising awareness for the LGBTQ2+ movement. Throughout the month, there are countless parades, protests, drag performances, live theatre performances, picnics, parties, workshops, symposiums, and concerts that attract millions of participants worldwide. People gather to celebrate Pride, spread the message, and fight discrimination. Memorials are also held during this month for members of the LGBTQ2+ community who have been lost to hate crimes and HIV/AIDS. The primary purpose of Pride is to recognize the impact that LGBTQ2+ individuals have had on the world on a local, national, and international scale. It is human rights activism, but also a celebration of the entire LGBTQ2+ community and everything that has been achieved over the years.
The Pride symbol and its meaning
The symbol of pride is the Rainbow flag, and it is known worldwide and easily recognizable. The rainbow flag was created by artist Gilbert Baker in 1978, and it is used as a symbol of LGBTQ2+ pride. Each colour on the flag represents a significant part/message of the LGBTQ2+ community. The red symbolizes life, orange symbolizes healing, yellow is for sunlight, green symbolizes nature, blue symbolizes harmony, and purple symbolizes spirit. This flag represents the diversity of people all around the world; it is a symbol of unity, acceptance and, of course, pride!
The flag has changed many times over the years in order to better represent its community. In 2018, the flag was altered in solidarity with the BLM movement and now also includes black that symbolizes diversity, brown symbolizes inclusivity, and the light blue alongside pink are the colours of the Trans Pride flag.
Why celebrate in June?
June is significant to Pride because of the Stonewall Uprising that took place on June 28, 1969. That event is what started the Gay Liberation Movement back in the seventies. In the early morning hours on June 28, police raided a popular gay bar, Stonewall Inn, in New York City’s West Village. This wasn’t an irregular occurrence, but on this particular evening, the bar patrons decided to fight back, which started the Stonewall Riots that went on for days.
In 2015 The Stonewall Inn was declared an historic landmark, and one year later, it was named a national monument by President Barack Obama.
This June marks the 51st anniversary of the first Pride parade, which took place in 1970, a year after the Stonewall Riots.
Want to participate in Pride in 2021?
This year, many Pride marches were cancelled due to COVID-19, but there are still a few that will be in person. Please make sure you check your local public health guidelines regarding COVID-19 and large gatherings, and only attend if you feel safe to do so. This year’s Pride march theme is “The Fight Continues.” You can also attend online gatherings and engage on social media!
Support the Pride Movement by donating to any of these organizations:
- Pride Toronto
- The Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity
- PFLAG CANADA
- Egale Canada Human Rights
- Project 10
- Ten Oaks Project
- Bill 7 Award LGBTQ Scholarship
- Lesbian Gay Trans Youth Line
- Rainbow Camp®
- Jeunesse Lamb
- The Human Rights Campaign
- The National Center for Trans Equality
- The National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network