Until fairly recently, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) individuals did not have a specific month during which to celebrate and commemorate Pride Days in the United States.
On June 11, 1999 President Clinton issued a proclamation designating June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. In the spirit of honoring equality and freedom, the president said, "I encourage all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that celebrate our diversity, and to remember throughout the year the gay and lesbian Americans whose many and varied contributions have enriched our national life."
This month is dedicated to appreciating the contributions and significance of the GLBT community, and celebrates diversity and civil liberties and rights for all.
History of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month
The origins of Gay and Lesbian Pride month can be traced back to a turbulent weekend in New York City in June of 1969. On the evening of June 27th, the usual crowd gathered at the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in New York City's Greenwich Village. New York Beverage Control Board agents and NYC police officers raided the bar to enforce an alcohol control law that was seldom enforced anywhere else in the city. Patrons were physically forced out of their gathering places, sometimes beaten, and often arrested with no just cause. On that night, lesbians and gay men spontaneously fought back against police harassment for the first time. Word spread quickly about the confrontation and large, outraged crowds gathered on ensuing nights to protest the mistreatment historically inflicted on the gay community. These protests came to be known as the Stonewall Rebellion. This uprising was the catalyst for the modern political movement for gay and lesbian liberation, calling for gay pride and action to secure their basic civil rights.
The event has been commemorated by annual celebrations in New York and Los Angeles in June, a tradition starting with marches on June 28,1970 marking the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. The Stonewall Inn was declared a national historical landmark in March 2000, cited as the birthplace of the modern gay and lesbian civil rights movement. Now, Gay and Lesbian Pride events and parades are planned annually in the month of June all over the country as well as internationally.