June is LGBTQ+ Pride month in the United States. When many of us think of Pride, pictures of parades, rainbow flags, and music may come to mind. The history of Pride month, however, is rooted in demonstrations, uprisings, and the Stonewall Inn.
The Stonewall Inn was a club in New York City where many LGBTQ+ people found safety, community, and representation.
Given that same-sex relations were largely illegal in America during the 1960s – it would take until 2003 for the Supreme Court to make them legal nationwide – many LGBTQ+ community members found safety and solace in clubs like Stonewall. Despite the comfort they provided, they were also prone to frequent raids by the police.
The Stonewall Inn had been raided repeatedly throughout the years and was often tipped off in advance, which allowed the patrons to clear out before the police arrived. However, on June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn again without warning. What happened next proved to be a catalyst that changed history. As the raid was unfolding, large crowds began to gather outside.
Fed up with the repeated arrests and raids, the crowd started chanting and jeering. LQBTQ+ people were no longer content with hiding who they were and living with inequality. When a police officer hit a lesbian over the head while arresting her, the crowd started throwing pennies, bottles and stones at the officers. This began the now famous Stonewall riot. Although the uprising itself was short lived, its effects on LGBTQ+ visibility and rights are still evident.
A year after the Stonewall riots, the first Pride parade would be held in New York City. Originally a gesture of remembrance to Stonewall, Pride parades now represent and celebrate many different identities and ways of life for those in the LGBTQ+ community
Why is this relevant? In 2016, the Minnesota Student Survey reported that 10.3 percent of students in the state identified as LGBTQ+. Nearly 60 percent of LGBTQ+ students felt unsafe at school, and more than 86 percent were harassed or assaulted, according to a 2019 GLSEN Report.
The GLSEN report also found that LGBTQ+ students attending schools with an inclusive curriculum were less likely to miss school, performed better academically, and were more likely to continue their education beyond high school. Read more about the positive effects of inclusive curricula here: Leading with Pride: Why LGBTQ+ Representation Matters - BrainPOP
“An inclusive curriculum sends the message that everyone deserves to be reflected in it, treated with dignity and respect,” says John Groenke, executive director of student services for Robbinsdale Area Schools.
Definitions for LGBTQ+:
L – Lesbian
G – Gay
B – Bisexual
T – Transgender (It is important to note that Transgender is not a descriptor of someone’s sexuality. For example, a Transgender person can be Gay, Straight, Lesbian, Queer, etc.)
Q – Queer/Questioning
+ – All other identities that may fall under the LGBTQ+ spectrum, (Asexuality, Demisexuality, etc.)
For more information on Pride month, influential people, and a discussion of terms, please visit the links below;