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Freedom Requires Wings FRW The #1 QUILTBAG opinion blog on the web. We aim to open minds and help the queer community. News, blogs, video, worldwide suicide prevention and more. Worldwide

Gay Prides: Good or Bad?

Freedom Requires Wings | by on




I think I know my answer to this question already... (S)
How many of us have heard our LGBT friends dissing gay pride parades? Most of you I imagine.

Some of both LGBT and straight people have doubts about the utility of the gay pride, and some even say it's counter-productive and revolts some straight people.

It's the age-old question of "are pride parades a good idea or do they portray bad stereotypes?" which has been asked endlessly since the first gay pride in 1969 after the Stonewall riots.

And that's where the question can start to be answered. The Stonewall riots.

In the early hours of the morning of Saturday 28th June 1969 in a small New York City gay bar called the Stonewall Inn, for the first time ever the gays and lesbians fought back and resisted during and after an all-to-common violent police raid. It was what many see as the turning point in LGBT history. For the first time in our history, we stood up and said "no" to oppression and police violence. The police, having no control over the raid they had started, quickly saw the situation turn into a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations which lasted six days.

"And how is this important?" you might ask. In fact, the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots would be marked by a new breed of LGBT events. And so, on the 28th June 1970, the gay pride was born.

This day, also called "Christopher Street Liberation Day", marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots with an assembly on Christopher Street and the first Gay Pride march in U.S. history, covering the 51 blocks to Central Park. The New York Times's front page reported that the marchers took up the entire street for about 15 city blocks. The Village Voice described it as "the out-front resistance that grew out of the police raid on the Stonewall Inn" one year earlier.

Kay Lahusen, who photographed the marches in 1965 stated, "Up to 1969, this movement was generally called the homosexual or homophile movement. [...] Many new activists consider the Stonewall uprising the birth of the gay liberation movement. Certainly it was the birth of gay pride on a massive scale."

Within two years of the Stonewall riots there were gay rights groups in every major American city, as well as Canada, Australia, and Western Europe. Gay prides were popping up everywhere in the western world. The riots spawned from a bar raid became a literal example of gays and lesbians fighting back, and a symbolic call to arms for many people.

Uganda's first ever gay pride last summer (S)
The true effects of Stonewall are neatly resumed in a 1999 documentary, After Stonewall, but the effects didn't stop in 1999. Even today, gay marriage is being legalized in more and more countries. The LGBT community is moving closer and closer to equality and all of that is possible because of the Stonewall riots, but also because of the annual reminder that we're here, we're loud, and we're proud of who we are.

When people tell me they think gay pride parades portray bad stereotypes of gays all being shirtless go-go dancers I don't understand why they're all that worried about it.

Because what I wanted to say with this post is that most people know at least one gay person. If gay pride parades were just plain marches, we wouldn't get the visibility and attention we're meant to draw. Yes, the aim of the gay pride is to draw attention to ourselves and show the world we exist! Even if people don't know any gay people (like me before I came out) they should have enough brain cells to put 1 and 1 together and know that gays aren't like that in everyday life.

Unless your name is Bryan Fischer... In which case, welcome to Freedom Requires Wings! I've written about you in the past.
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