June is Pride Month! We have all grown accustomed to the display of rainbow-colored company logos throughout the month, as we eagerly await the return of safe Pride celebrations across the US. June marks the beginning of summer—it is only fitting that the brighter days of June shine light and honor our LGBTQ+ communities.
But how did June become the month that symbolizes affirmation, acceptance, and community for so many? A look back at the history of Pride reveals a story that honors a struggle for liberation and acceptance. Pride began as a day to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan in June of 1969, where LGBTQ+ persons—targets of frequent profiling—and city police clashed outside of the Stonewall Inn. Stonewall quickly became a catalyst for future generations of activists in subsequent gay rights’ movements and one year later, the first Pride celebration was held in New York City in June of 1970. Memorials quickly grew in cities across the country to commemorate Stonewall, and honor those who lost their lives due to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. Eventually, the one-day march grew into a month-long commemoration, an honored time and space for the events and celebrations that we participate in today.
Pride is so much more than a festival. It is an important time for us to stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ+ communities that have been discriminated against for so long. LGBTQ+ individuals are still the target of violence, are ostracized from their families, and are made to feel isolated. While much progress has been made since Stonewall, our society still has a long way to go in recognizing the rights and distinct individuality of each member of the LGBTQ+ community.
As the weather grows warmer and we start to emerge from over a year of social isolation, we remember the legacy of Pride and the activists who came before us. We honor the ones gone too soon and we support and stand by our LGBTQ+ community. We stand proud as partners with you. Our LGBTQ+ Counseling Program offers free specialized counseling to those in need, and our support groups are a welcoming place. YOU ARE NOT ALONE and we stand by you.