LGBTQ+ Pride Month 2023 begins with protests, parades, and celebrations

Beginning at the beginning of June, Pride month is observed in certain countries including the U.S. as a time to honor LGBTQ+ communities and to oppose recent attacks on long-achieved civil rights victories.

The political context surrounding this year’s Pride celebration is heated, with some state legislators attempting to outlaw drag events, outlaw care that is gender affirming, and restrict how teachers may discuss sexuality and gender in the classroom.

Events have been interfered with. People have harassed performers. And a shooter in Colorado shot people inside a gay bar in November, resulting in five deaths and a number of injuries.

“What we’re seeing right now is probably the worst that it’s been since the early days, in terms of the demonization of our communities,” said Jay W. Walker, one of the co-founders of the Reclaim Pride Coalition, a New York City-based group.

But he insisted that won’t prevent individuals from attending this month’s Pride celebrations.

“You can’t keep our communities down. No one can. It’s basic human rights,” Walker said.

HOW IT STARTED

Since the inaugural Pride march in New York City, which was then known as the “Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day” march, on June 28, 1970, June has been a significant month for the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

That incident commemorated a rebellious act from the Stonewall Inn riot in New York City the previous year. Following a police raid at the LGBT club, a group of people, including trans women of color, used their rage to confront the police. It served as the impetus for the global campaign for LGBTQ+ rights.

The yearly marches have been a chance to call for action on particular problems like the AIDS pandemic and same-sex marriage while also acting as a platform for public celebration for more than fifty years.

HOW IT’S GOING

Nowadays, Pride festivals and activities are held around the nation.

While other cities organize their activities throughout the month or even at other times of the year, several of the nation’s major cities, including New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, and Minneapolis, have their main marches on the last weekend of June.

Pride organizers pack the month of June with activities in addition to the marches, including readings, performances, parties, and street festivals.

This weekend in Florida, theme parks and hotels in the Orlando region will be the site of the annual Gay Days celebrations. This is true despite a number of anti-LGBTQ+ laws that Governor Ron DeSantis and state legislators approved, some of which forbade discussion of sexual orientation in the classroom.

Globally, there are Pride celebrations that bring large audiences to cities like Sao Paulo, Tel Aviv, Madrid, and Toronto.

At some previous events, worries over commercialism and corporate participation have obscured actual problems that are still open for discussion. On the same day as the bigger Pride march in New York City, there has been a second event for the previous few years.

WHICH FLASHPOINTS ARE THERE?

Pride parades have had a lot to celebrate lately, including in 2015 when the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court approved same-sex marriage.

The last few years, however, have been more challenging; Pride celebrations had to be limited during the epidemic, and when they resumed last year in person, it was with a feeling of urgency due to the growth of divisive language and anti-LGBTQ legislative action.

Gender-affirming medical care for kids is prohibited or restricted in at least 17 states throughout the US, and transgender athletes are subject to limitations at schools in at least 20 states.

“This is a year where sentiment is going to be revolving around resistance and about finding strength and community and centering our joy and our right to exist and our right to be here,” said Cathryn Oakley, state legislative director and senior counsel for the Human Rights Campaign organization.

LGBTQ+ communities, Oakley said, need to “commit ourselves to continued resistance against the forces that are trying to prevent us from being our full, joyful, happy, thriving selves. … And band together and fight back against the very oppressive forces that are coming for us.”

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