Many of us LGBT members know the importance of the annual Gay Pride March but few of us (myself included until today) DON'T know the history behind it. We know of Stonewall and that it was a pivotal moment in the Gay Rights Movement, but in reality it was the beginning of our movement. And since I have never been a history fan or enjoyed memorizing each and every single historical detail with the exact date and time I decided to give you Leo Donato's Cliff Notes on why we march.
It all began here, The Stonewall Inn, at the time owned by the Mafia who catered to an assortment of patrons and was known to be popular among the poorest and most marginalized people in the gay community: drag queens, representatives of the transgender community, effeminate young men, male prostitutes, and homeless youth. I think they were accepting of us because we shared one thing in common: we were both outlaws, because in the 1950s and 1960s you could be arrested JUST for being gay.
On June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, located in the Greenwich Village a police raid resulted in violence, when for the first time ever, the LGBT community stood up for themselves. No need to describe these events in detail because the following images speak for themselves.
This raid promoted an upheaval of violent protest by the gay community against the NYC police department and their mistreatment of gays referred to as the Stonewall Riots which were then replaced by peaceful public demonstrations on Christopher Street, called The Christopher Street Liberation Day. Together this uprising paved the way to the creation of our organized peaceful movement. Within six months of these events, two gay activist organizations were formed in New York and three newspapers were established to promote rights for gays and lesbians. One year later on June 28, 1970, for the first time, Gay Pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, commemorating the anniversary of the riots.
The original purpose of the Pride March, or what some refer to as the 'Stonewall Uprising', was to reach the masses and to broadcast our message to a larger audience. That being said, I continued with tradition and marched for a second time in my 11 years living in NYC - the first time doing so for The Crystal Free & Sexy Campaign, sending awareness to the gay community about the damaging effects of crystal meth - and this around, I marched for what I believe is our next legal battle in our fight to win Equal Rights: Transgender Equality.
Enjoy the pictures from our Gay Rights Movement Heritage of Pride March NYC 2015, along with our celebration of a great victory in winning marriage equality in the US!
I dedicate this post to two friends who are my family and have been with me through thick and thin - my Gay Sister Jean Pierre Arias & my Straight Sister Nazya Ayaz - because of your love, your support, and much, much more, I stand tall and can march for others in our Heritage Of Pride - thank you, I love you!