What is Pride?

What is Pride?

By Likhith Chandragiri

Pride is an annual month-long celebration where people come together to assert their identity, show solidarity and call for equality and dignity. Pride is a rejection of shame and stigma and is a huge part of LGBTQIA+ culture.

All over the world, in the month of June, the LGBTQIA+ community comes out into the streets, flooding it with rainbow hues, cheers and chants.

History

Pride is more political than it is a party. Pride began as a riot when American police cracked down on bars and pubs frequented by queer and trans people in order to intimidate, harass and subjugate them.

On June 28, 1969, the police raided the Stonewall Inn in New York City and began arresting LGBTQIA+ patrons. The patrons resisted arrest while a gathering crowd began to riot in defiance of police brutality and the anti-LGBTQIA+ policies of the time.

These riots, led by trans women of colour, were known as the Stonewall Riots and were the beginning of the modern LGBTQIA+ rights movement. The annual pride month celebrations commemorate this uprising and the first pride march was held on the one-year anniversary of the same.

In the years to follow, pride events quickly spread across the world as more and more LGBTQIA+ people marched, demanding equality, acceptance and an end to prejudice. India held its first Pride March in Kolkata in 1999. Today, pride is celebrated in over 20 cities in India and numerous cities across the globe.

Why is it important?

Pride not only commemorates the historic Stonewall Uprising which catalysed the modern LGBTQIA+ liberation movement, but it also acts as an exercise of public visibility, where LGBTQIA+ people gather to remind society that they exist and that their lives matter.

Pride celebrates sexual and gender diversity, honours all those who have lost their lives due to hate crimes and HIV/AIDS, and advocates for those who still don't have basic civil liberties.

It is an exercise in owning one's own identity, as well as being fearless, visible and vocal. Pride is a rallying call for freedom and dignity and is a reminder that the fight for equality is far from over.