Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. In the United States the last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as "Gay Pride Day," but the actual day was flexible. In major cities across the nation the "day" soon grew to encompass a month-long series of events. Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBTQ Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.
In 1994, a coalition of education-based organizations in the United States designated October as LGBT History Month. In 1995, a resolution passed by the General Assembly of the National Education Association included LGBT History Month within a list of commemorative months. National Coming Out Day (October 11), as well as the first "March on Washington" in 1979, are commemorated in the LGBTQ community during LGBT History Month.
Learn More About Pride Month on the Library of Congress Website
People will often ask why it’s important to have a month to celebrate Pride. My answer is that I hope one day there will be no need for Pride month and when that day comes, we will all be aware that we no longer need this celebration. We will know because there will be no more young people disowned by their families because they are LGBTQ+; there will be no more students who dread school every day because they are tormented for who they are; there will be no more teachers who fear for their jobs because of who they love; children with two moms or two dads will not have to fear “funny looks” and being shunned by their friends and others; LGBTQ+ office workers will not have to worry about whether or not they should put their family pictures on their desks; there will never be another person whose pronoun preference is ignored repeatedly by those who are supposed to be friends or family; LGBTQ+ individuals from the past will no longer be ignored by the historians and history books; we will no longer feel like celebrating when we see LGBTQ+ individuals portrayed in movies, ads, and other media realistically because by then that is the only way they will ever be portrayed; the idea that LGBTQ+ men and women can be “cured” will be understood to be the torture of innocents, and disavowed by all; every high school senior will take whoever they want to the prom and there will be no outcry over the LGBTQ+ couples; and LGBTQ+ groups will have become nothing more than social groups with no need for advocacy and support. Why do we need a month to celebrate Pride? Because it isn’t time to stop yet – be we are hopeful that one day this celebration will no longer be needed.
Dr. Linda A. Mitchell