Put on your dancing shoes! Pride is right around the corner, and Nemacolin is hosting a special Pride Month event dedicated to improving the well-being of the LGBTQIA communities in the area. Learn more about the history of Pride Month and how you can play an active role in encouraging inclusivity.
History of Pride
On June 28th, 1969, riots broke out following a police raid at The Stonewall Inn, a small dive bar on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village (New York) known for being a haven for the LGBTQIA community. At the time, there existed laws that proposed a “man” or a “woman” had to be wearing clothing items and a certain number that matched the gender displayed on their state-issued ID. “Masquerade” or “cross-dressing” of any kind was not condoned.
Consequently, this led to a brutal riot that is now commonly referred to as the Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. It is commemorated as a significant time in history advocating for gay liberation — the riots birthed the concept of Pride.
Pride, an acronym for Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Diversity, and Excellence, emerged on the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in 1969. New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles banded together to hold the first pride parades in the country, and thousands of LGBTQIA people gathered to commemorate Stonewall with banners and signs advocating for equal rights.
Over the years, these parades have grown exponentially, expanding to cities across the country and globally. Although the concept of Pride has been celebrated for more than 50 years, President Bill Clinton officially proclaimed the month of June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month in 1999. Following President Clinton’s lead, President Barack Obama and President Joe Biden have expanded this observance to include Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month.
Today, LGBTQIA Pride Month attracts millions of participants around the world with festivities including parades, parties, workshops, special concerts, and more promoting visibility and equality. Memorials are also commonly held in Pride Month to commemorate members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.
Pride in Pennsylvania
Whether you are a resident of Pennsylvania or just visiting, there are many fun ways to celebrate Pride around the state. With special parades, picnics, drag shows, and parties, you will be spoilt for choice on where to go and what to do.
Residents of Pennsylvania may be familiar with PrideFest, a non-profit that hosts a three-day annual gay Pride event that takes place in Harrisburg, Central Pennsylvania. In 2018, PrideFest made significant progress for the LGBTQIA community — it became the first ever Pride event held at a U.S. State Capitol! Although the event is not held during Pride Month, you can attend this three-day celebration on the final weekend of July.
PrideFest attendees can enjoy entertainment such as bands, drag shows, and a family zone. On Sunday, a church service is held to honor the LGBTQIA community. There are also a myriad of vendors and food options to excite and entice you.
Running across the first weekend in June, the city of Pittsburgh hosts Pride Revolution featuring free concerts, a community march, and more. Catch live music performances by local, national, and international artists and explore an array of fantastic food options.
Be sure to watch the vibrant parade led by LGBTQIA motorcycle riders featuring drag queens and kings, a gigantic pride flag, and many amazing supporters — a must-see for families!