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On June 28, 1969, members of New York’s gay community protested against a police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a Manhattan gay nightlife staple. The demonstrations quickly turned violent and marked a major turning point for the gay rights movement in the U.S. This night, commemorated as the Stonewall Riots, was led by queer and trans women of color.
This month, June 28th will mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Those riots paved the path for the modern Pride movement. Annually in June, members of the LGBTQ+ community celebrate with parades, festivals, and other extravagant occasions meant to show defiance in the face of sexuality-based bigotry, though some argue that Pride’s prioritization of white gay cisgender men and corporate values is a slap in the face to the queer and trans women of color who started the Stonewall Riots.
To get a better understanding of how Pride is celebrated and the history underlying it, look no further than how the four most populous cities in the U.S. are marking the month.
New York’s LGBTQ+ Pride march will happen on Sunday, June 30th, but before then, events commemorating queer history, honoring current LGBTQ+ activists and icons, and uniting LGBTQ+ people will take place throughout the month. Highlights include an exhibit on the art of the two decades following the Stonewall Riots, a vogue ball (such balls defined many a queer or trans person of color’s New York existence in the 1980s), and yesterday’s Pride Ride.
The Los Angeles Pride march will take place Sunday, June 9th. The same day, the city’s lesbian community will partake in the annual Dyke Day, which serves as a more grassroots option for those less interested in the often-overwhelming nature of Pride parades. LGBTQ+ folks can venture to West Hollywood to experience the month-long One City, One Pride arts festival. This festival is far from the city’s only artistic Pride event, as Los Angeles is one of the country’s biggest artistic hubs. The month’s art options border on endless.
As in New York, Chicago’s Pride parade will take place June 30th. Before then, Chicago’s LGBTQ+ community can enjoy queer-friendly activities including the Andersonville neighborhood’s annual celebration of its Nordic roots, Pride 5K and 10K runs, and special celebrations in family-friendly empty lots and on the Navy Pier lakefront. Chicago isn’t short on art options either, as the city’s newly opened Wrightwood 659 space is presenting its Stonewall riots-honoring “About Face” exhibit, which includes close to 500 different works.
Houston’s Pride march will take place Saturday, June 22nd. The same day, the city’s official Pride organization will host a reflection on the summer of 1969, when the Stonewall riots occurred. Other events of note include a Pride film fest, a night catered specifically to Latinx LGBTQ+ people, a cocktail party that welcomes all genders, a sober night, and a mid-month pool party. Earlier this year, Houston Pride launched an art program that will surely inform this year’s activities as well.
How will you be celebrating Pride? Share your plans with us in the comments!