It’s June, so you know what that means—Pride Month! We love that people from all walks of life are able to celebrate love, acceptance, and equality throughout the month.
But among the rainbows and events, it’s important that we not lose sight of how Pride came about and why, decades later, the fight for equality, acceptance, and inclusivity is just as important.
The origins of Pride Month
Pride Month is a time to support the LGBTIQ+ community. It’s celebrated in June as a nod to New York City’s Stonewall Uprising of 1969, which is considered the turning point for the modern LGBTIQ+ movement. On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a queer bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village.
Raids at gay and lesbian bars were commonplace for the time, but what made Stonewall different was that this time, patrons fought back when the police became violent. Protests in Greenwich Village ensued over the next several days and activist groups sprang up over the coming weeks, as members of the LGBTIQ+ community demanded to be able to live their lives freely, regardless of sexual orientation, and without fear of arrest.
A year later, to commemorate the uprising, the first gay pride marches took place in major U.S. cities. In just a few years, marches were occurring all over the world.
Here in Australia, while small demonstrations had been occurring for years, a Mardi Gras event in Sydney is considered to be the first gay pride event. Designed in solidarity with the LGBTIQ+ community in San Francisco, the 24 June 1978 event included a demonstration in the morning and a parade in the afternoon.
While the group had a permit, local police took issue with the event and the party atmosphere quickly became a riot, and attendees who were arrested were outed in the Sydney Morning Herald, with enormous fallout for folks in jobs like teaching.
Pride Month today
Amongst the party atmosphere of Pride events today, it can be difficult to imagine a different time. But while the LGBTIQ+ community has secured rights in some places, like being able to marry in Australia, there are still myriad struggles and discrimination that the community faces.
Homophobia, biphobia, intersexphobia, and transphobia persist globally, including in Australia. Open up any newspaper and you’ll be confronted with examples:
- Uganda's recent anti-LGBTQ laws
- The withdrawal of Pride merchandise at Target stores in the U.S. due to threats
- Presbyterian Church’s case submission affecting LGBTIQ+ students here in Australia
- Conversion therapy still being legal in the NT, NSW, SA, WA, and Tasmania
- Legislation to protect the rights of people with innate variations of sex characteristics is not Australia wide
- Trans-rights are under siege in America. In Australia, it can still be difficult for people to access gender-affirming support and care, and trans people still experience significant health disparities
- Only 35 out of 195 countries have legalised same-sex marriage
While there is so much to celebrate during Pride Month, it’s critical that we don’t sweep the very real challenges that still exist under the rug.
How you can help
Heterosexual and cisgender allies, Pride Month is a great time to support LGBTIQ+ rights that are still being questioned, challenged, and denied, both in Australia and globally. Here are some ways to get started that you can continue year-round.
Use your voice and power to help make a difference.
- Call upon your elected officials to support legislation that protects and uplifts LGBTIQ+ folks
- Donate to organisations that support LGBTIQ+ people
- Volunteer for an LGBTIQ+ organisation
While many people are happy to help, it’s not up to the LGBTIQ+ community to educate you.
- Learn about the issues facing members of the community
- Read books by LGBTIQ+ authors
- Watch films by and about LGBTIQ+ people
Because there is so much joy and beauty in the LGBTIQ+ community.
- Attend a Pride event
- Celebrate good news in the LGBTIQ+
- Have a dance party with music by LGBTIQ+ artists
- Go see a drag show
Here at True, we have several resources to assist in supporting LGBTIQ+ people, including:
Safe Space Resources
Directory of LGBTIQ+ specific supports and resources
Gender, Sexuality and Diversity
LGBTIQAP+ Sistergirl and Brotherboy Affirming Language
LGBTIQAP+ Sistergirl and Brotherboy Inclusive Clinical Spaces
Introduction to Key LGBTIQ+ Terminology & Concepts
Migrant and Refugee LGBTIQ+ Cultural Safety
Being Me a short video for young people around gender identity