In light of Auckland’s Pride Month this February, the ladies at WOMAN+ thought it would be appropriate to revisit the progress of pride internationally so that we are reminded how important pride month is.
In general, pride is a movement created to ensure the LGBTQIA+ community has an opportunity to connect, embrace their identities and more recently, to display their talents. If you’re in the Auckland region be sure to check out What’s on | Auckland Pride Festival for the full programme of events and to see what’s on!
There are so many events on from lesbian art walks, to different live art shows, comedy shows, drag performances and live poetry readings – and that’s not even covering half of the activities there!
Wellington, your turn is up soon with Wellington pride month hitting in March. To check out what’s on, visit Wellington Pride.
Globally, pride has now been celebrated for around 50 years in the form of pride festivals and parades.
The initial pride celebrations began in the 1970’s after an uprising at the Stonewall Inn in 1969. The Stonewall Uprisings were a series of spontaneous protests by members of the queer community in response to various police raids in Greenwich Village, New York City. A number of patrons of the Stonewall, and other queer bars in the neighbourhood fought back with violent police. The riots were considered the turning point event that was the catalyst for the initiation of the LGBTQ rights movement and fights for such rights in the United States.
In 1970, a year after the initial uprising, to mark the anniversary of the event, the first pride marches took place in major US cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.
News reports from the New York march noted that the energy was far smaller than what you would see today; New York’s first pride festival was confined to the west village only; being the only neighbourhood that queer people could publically meet. New York is North America’s second largest city, so the parade being geographically confined to a neighbourhood meant that this was small and intimate. The parade, although important to catapult the movement, was still deeply rooted in fear over prejudice due to taunting by passer-bys and a fear of being arrested.
Over the years, organisations formed more openly, fighting for their rights with the turn outs of many US based pride parades being approximately 5 million+ and comprising over 500+ pride and LGBTQIA+ community organisations.
Pride festivals now take place in almost 100 countries, with the intention of having fun and celebrating love but also connecting people and activists by giving people a chance to embrace themselves and go out into the open and stop feeling ashamed.
Although there is still much progress to be made, with members of the community still marginalised and restricted in many ways, a big step in the right direction was made when same sex marriages were legalised. In the US, the Supreme Court legalised same sex marriage by ruling that the Constitution guarantees it across the country in 2015. In New Zealand, in August 2013 the government approved a measure legalising same-sex marriage (garnering support from then Prime Minister John Key).
So with the history of pride in mind, I urge you to check out some of the events as a member of the community or as an ally!