Have questions about when the LGBTQ+ or (LGBTQIA+) movement officially started in the United States? Read on to find answers!
Most information concurs that the modern LGBTQ+ movement started in June 1969 with the Stonewall Inn Riots in New York City. The Stonewall Inn was a well-known gay bar in Greenwich Village that was frequently the target of harassment by authorities.
In the early hours of June 28, 1969, following a police raid, patrons fought back leading to a neighborhood uprising in protest. This event led to the creation of multiple organizations that began fighting in U.S. courts to secure the LGBTQ+ rights we have today.
Explore library resources on the Stonewall Riots.
There have been new findings that LGBTQ+ activism in the United States started much earlier in the 1920s but didn't get recognized until the 1950s and 60s, and then the Stonewall Riots caused LGBTQ+ activism to skyrocket.
Read 7 Facts About the Stonewall Riots and the Fight for LGBTQ Rights, opens a new window from HISTORY.com.
So when did Pride month start?
"Pride" is the designated name or slogan that commemorates the anniversary of the Stonewall Inn Riots. It started in 1970, a year after the Stonewall Inn Riots took place, as a peaceful march with no dress restrictions where people could express themselves and their sexuality freely. There have been peaceful marches, protests and celebrations every year since.
Why is it called Pride?
The first parade to commemorate the Stonewall Riots was originally called the Christopher Street Liberation Day March after the committee that planned it. Committee member and activist Craig Schoonmaker was the first to suggest using the term "pride."
"We were going to create a number of events the same weekend as the march to bring in people out of town, and wanted to unite the events under a label. First thought was ‘Gay Power’. I didn’t like that, so proposed gay pride.
There’s very little chance for people in the world to have power. People did not have power then; even now, we only have some. But anyone can have pride in themselves, and that would make them happier as people, and produce the movement likely to produce change." - Craig Schoonmaker from Allusionist podcast 12: Pride - transcript, opens a new window
LGBTQ+ History and LGBTQ+ Activism
LGBTQ+ history can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece and various parts of the world, depending on the region, area and culture of the people who lived there.
LGBTQ+ activism is still going on today. Multiple organizations are still fighting for rights in multiple states for different reasons.
Learn more about the history of LGBTQ+ activism and the people who made it possible with the links below.
Books for all age ranges about the activism, importance, and perspectives of LGBTQ+ folx.
Streaming movies on Kanopy:
- LGBTQ+ History, opens a new window
- Before Stonewall, opens a new window
- Before Homosexuals: The History of Same-Sex Desire, opens a new window