Dear Kim,

Obviously I’m a big fan of Pride – I’m proud year round but it’s nice to have a month of celebration for it. I was wondering – how did Pride Month start? I know it had something to do with the Stonewall Inn, but can you tell me more?

Thanks,
Proud History Buff

Dear Proud,

You’re right – Pride Month started with World Pride Day, which commemorated the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. 

The Stonewall Riots took place in 1969 and the historic Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. In the 60s, gay and lesbian bars were frequently raided by police under the guise of being “disorderly.” On June 28, Stonewall Inn patrons had had enough. When the bar was raided by New York City cops, a riot broke out, involving hundreds of people. There is disagreement as to who started the riot – Storme De Larverie, Marsha P Johnson, and Sylvia Rivera are all credited with instigating, and for sure, all had an important role. The initial riot was eventually dispersed by riot police, but protests continued for five days.

While the Stonewall Riots didn’t start the modern gay rights movement, they certainly helped the movement gain momentum. On the one-year anniversary of the riot, thousands marched in the streets of Manhattan in what is considered to be the first pride parade.

So, while you’re enjoying Pride this month, remember that the first Pride was a riot. Without Stonewall, we would certainly not have made the progress we have, so remember the folks of Stonewall who demanded radical change.

Happy Pride!
Kim