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The Waving Pride

By David Barnes

Hello Readers, this time, the topic is about that rainbow you see on everyone’s display picture or the rainbow embedded in brand logo’s.

The topic for today is Pride Month.

So what exactly is Pride Month you may ask? 

This month, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals as a social group are promoting self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility. The main viewpoint that underpins most LGBT rights campaigns is pride, rather than shame and societal censure. LGBT-themed organisations, institutions, foundations, book titles, journals, a cable TV station, and the Pride Library have all been given the Pride moniker.

Let’s go more in-depth as to why this day is celebrated. Shall we?

History

Several harsh pieces of legislation targeting LGBTQ individuals were in force in New York City throughout the 1960s. Men were jailed not just for wearing drag clothing, but also for selling booze to gay persons and making public demonstrations of homosexuality. In this constrictive climate, the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Manhattan opened its doors in 1966. The venue allowed people of various identities and sexual orientations to be themselves while enjoying the nightlife. Members of the LGBTQ community, notably homeless homosexual adolescents, found refuge at the Stonewall Inn.

When police invaded the Stonewall at 1:20 a.m. on June 28, 1969, the situation was irrevocably transformed. Because the New York State Liquor Authority refused to provide a permit to any establishment that serviced homosexual clientele, the bar had been operating without a liquor licence. Despite previous raids on Stonewall, years of bribing policemen had kept the company afloat—until that June night. The cops entered the establishment with a warrant and began detaining customers inside. A throng gathered and began hurling things at the police while those detained were kept outside in handcuffs waiting for squad vehicles. The scene deteriorated, with Stonewall patrons struggling with police and the mob setting fire to a barrier erected by policemen inside the venue.

Although the fire was put out and the mob dispersed by police, protests continued outside the Stonewall for the following six days. Thousands of individuals showed their support for the Stonewall and the people it helped throughout the week. The Stonewall Uprising was born out of these events, and it acted as a rallying point for LGBTQ political movement. Passivity was replaced by organised involvement as a result of the revolt, and the LGBT rights movement gained momentum and concentration.

The First Pride Parades

Activists began planning a march to mark the Stonewall Incident’s first anniversary many months after the uprising. Craig Rodwell, Fred Sargeant, Ellen Brody, and Linda Rhodes suggested the event at the Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations. It was to be held every year on the final Saturday in June. The idea was adopted, and it had a significant impact on LGBTQ opposition.

One of the main points of the idea was that there would be no restrictions on marchers’ age or attire. LGBTQ activists staged public marches, vigils, and picket lines at this time, though these were generally courteous and held in quiet.

The Annual Reminder, a tiny, peaceful march in Philadelphia, was one such event. Frank Kameny, a Harvard PhD who was sacked from his federal government position due to his homosexuality, planned the event.

Protesters picketed at Liberty Hall every July 4 from 1965 to 1969 to protest the oppression of LGBTQ persons. To avoid appearing menacing, Kameny ordered that everyone dress professionally: males had to wear coats and ties, while ladies had to wear gowns. Demonstrations in front of the White House and New York were similar. The legislation was the subject of Kameny’s Annual Reminders, not homosexual power or pride. Such gatherings aimed to raise awareness about topics such as workplace discrimination, anti-gay legislation, and police brutality.

Evolution

The early gatherings were difficult to organise, but they demonstrated to LGBT activists what was possible. In New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, Pride festivities, including parades, have become yearly occurrences. In 1972, Washington, DC had its inaugural gay pride march. That same year, Dallas held its inaugural pride parade, with 200 participants and 17 adorned automobiles and floats. As time went on, the mix of activism and floats became the standard, as seen by coverage of the 1973 Philadelphia Gay Pride Parade. The New York City Gay Pride march had a turnout of 12,000 to 20,000 people by 1973.

The term “Pride” was used in the mid-1970s to describe the marches and parades. Personal Rights in Defense and Education, or PRIDE, is a homosexual rights advocacy organisation whose name was inspired by the original New York march’s cry. In 1974, the city of Los Angeles added a festival to the march, which set the standard for pride events around the country. The rainbow flag was originally used at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day march in 1978. Gilbert Baker, a gay activist, created it with eight colours in mind. Most major US cities had a pride parade by the 1980s.

Pride Month In India

Due to pervasive homophobia in the modern-day population, which stems from colonial enforcement of European legislation, India has a restricted culture for LGBTQIA persons. However, in recent years, living circumstances and media portrayal have improved, particularly in terms of transgender persons.

The internet has opened up new avenues for social contact and the building of communities. Pages and postings on social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook have been created to raise LGBT awareness and visibility in India.  Instagram accounts such as “Gaysifamily,” “nazariyalgbt,” and “lgbthistoryindia” are examples. “To offer a voice and a safe environment to Desis from the South Asian subcontinent who identify as LGBTQ+,” according to the Gaysifamily website. They sell and distribute LGBTQ Desis’ stickers, artwork, personal tales, and zines.

On September 11, 2013, India’s first Queer Radio channel, Qradio – Out and Proud, was established, dedicated only to LGBT audiences. The station currently broadcasts 24 hours a day, with a range of discussion shows, music, debates, and other programs.

Various groups are campaigning for LGBT rights in India, including Humsafar (Mumbai), Alternative Law Forum (Bangalore), Sangama (Karnataka), Chennai Dost, and Nazariya (Delhi NCR). There are also national groups, like Human Rights India and Gaysi. Many of these groups are self-funded and function in a fairly informal manner. Queerala and Queerythm, both based in Kerala, have given LGBT rights a new face.

Conclusion

Pride parades are also held in many other cities throughout the world. Gay pride celebrations were conducted in Brazil, Australia, and Russia in 2010. Even though same-sex sexual contact is prohibited in Pakistan, the country has staged a Pride march. “We could never have guessed that our efforts would lead to hundreds of millions of people converging throughout the world,” Fred Sargeant, one of the organisers of the initial march in New York City, wrote in the Village Voice.

With India’s ever-increasing knowledge about the LGBTQ community, it isn’t a surprise how well we are progressing. Even though it may be at a slower pace as compared to the other countries, I am sure you are proud non the less, with the changes that have taken place.

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