Pride Day and Pride Month have a more than 40-year history now, so there is much to celebrate each June. The first Pride march in New York City was held on June 28, 1970, on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.
According to the rich and extensive collection of primary sources available at The Library of Congress, that first Pride march was planned, and the reasons why activists felt so strongly that it should exist were numerous.
If you’re interested in delving into the origins of Pride, the Library’s Manuscript Division includes planning documents, correspondence, flyers, ephemera and more from the first Pride marches in 1970. That first U.S. Gay Pride Week and March was intended to give the community a chance to gather together to “…commemorate the Christopher Street Uprisings of last summer in which thousands of homosexuals went to the streets to demonstrate against centuries of abuse … from government hostility to employment and housing discrimination, Mafia control of Gay bars, and anti-Homosexual laws.”
So, there is a lot of rich history people can explore. In present day, however, Pride and all of the associated marches, parties, concerts and other events can also just be fantastic opportunities to have fun and celebrate all of the advances in gay rights that have emerged since Stonewall and the first parades.
One thing that people often forget is that Pride is, at its heart, all about sex. In a wonderful list published by The Advocate in 2018, writer Alexander Cheves gave us “13 Reminders Pride is Also About Sex.”
“As you’re hitting the streets this Pride season to fight rollbacks of our rights, don’t forget to celebrate the kind of sex you like to have — and protest efforts to regulate it,” he wrote. “You’re also marching for sexual liberation. Sex and Pride have always gone together.”
Cheves’ Pride Sex baker’s dozen also reminds us that Pride started in cruisy LGBT bars:
“New York’s Stonewall Inn was a prime cruising zone. Young queer hustlers, transgender and lesbian sex workers, cross-dressing butches, and other marginalized folks hung out there. (The same can be said for the Black Cat in Los Angeles and numerous bars in San Francisco.) …the sexual backdrop of the birthplace of LGBT rights can’t be erased.”
All these years later, pretty much every major city holds Pride parades and events. In Cleveland, you can get your Pride on starting with “Pride in the CLE 2022 March” on Saturday, June 4 at noon with the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland:
“The annual Pride in the CLE™ March kicks off our celebration as a reminder that Pride is not a moment, but a movement. We continue to honor the history and foundational ideas that make Pride special to this day with our march. This visible demonstration of support for the LGBTQ+ community shows that we cannot and will not be silent in our march towards equality for all.”
In Detroit, the Motor City Pride Festival will fire up its brilliant colors on Saturday, June 11 and Sunday, June 12:
“As we continue to enhance the operations of Motor City Pride for our community, we’ve also taken some time to consider what our festival looks and feels like. This year, we focused on the importance of each of the colors we use for festivals materials. Our focus was on representing the diverse sexualities within our community and how we could highlight each of them respectfully. We were able to create a ‘super rainbow’ by pulling the colors from each of the flags to the right. We see this swatch as something that can grow over time with our community.”
Up in the Windy City, the Chicago Pride Parade and Festivals 2022 will give Chicagoans a chance to celebrate for the entire month of June!
Chicago Pride Fest, presented by the Northalsted Business Alliance, returns Saturday, June 18 (11 a.m. – 10 p.m.) and Sunday, June 19 (11 a.m. – 10 p.m.). The iconic and 51st Chicago Pride Parade will step off on Sunday, June 26, beginning at noon. Pride in the Park in Chicago’s Grant Park will be held on Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26.
While the coronavirus pandemic brought all those plans to a halt in 2020 and 2021, PRIDE IS BACK in 2022!
This year’s festivities will honor the late Richard William Pfeiffer. He was coordinator of the annual Chicago Pride Parade since 1974 and a member of Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, died Sunday, October 6, 2019. He was 70.
“One of our earliest and longest-serving activists, Rich Pfeiffer made history as he gave our community decades of committed, effective service,” said Art Johnston, Sidetrack co-owner and co-founder of Equality Illinois. “Under Rich’s year-round consistent leadership Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade grew from a few hundred participants and observers to thousands of marchers and over a million viewers, reflecting the amazing growth of our communities.”
Pfeiffer watched Chicago’s first-ever parade in 1970, was a volunteer marshal at the second, third and fourth parades, and he volunteered to be the coordinator at the fifth parade in 1974. He held the title through this year’s 50th annual Chicago Pride Parade.
Wherever you live, you know what to do this month: Be loud. Be proud. Get marching! Have a great time celebrating Pride 2022!!