The History of Pride and How it Began

The Stonewall Inn, commonly shortened to Stonewall, was a designated members’ club in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of Lower Manhattan, New York City, though door staff would often admit people who they believed to be LGBTQ+

During the early 1960s, there were numerous raids on the LGBTQ+ bars and clubs in New York City. The Library of Congress states that on average, the Stonewall Inn was raided once a month.

In the early hours of June 28th, 1969, the police attempted to raid The Stonewall Inn. However, there was delay in transportation for those that had been arrested, meaning a crowd of people who had been removed from the Inn, began to grow outside.

In the crowd, a scuffle broke out when a lesbian in handcuffs, believed to be Stormé DeLarverie, was roughly escorted from the door of the bar to the waiting police wagon. She repeatedly escaped and was brought through the crowd several times, fighting with four police officers for approximately 10 minutes. Witnesses state that she was bleeding from a head wound after being struck with a baton.

DeLarverie eventually sparked the crowd to fight, when she looked at the bystanders and shouted, “Why don’t you guys do something?” After an officer picked her up and heaved her into the back of the wagon, the crowd became extremely protective and the scene became explosive. Thousands of people joined the protest that evening, followed by thousands more over the next few days.

These events led to the formation of the some of the first LGBTQ+ activist groups in the U.S., including the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) and more.

A year later, in 1970, the first Pride marches took place in several cities across the U.S. to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, which is now widely recognised as the catalyst for the modern fight for LGBTQ+ rights, paving the way for the decades that followed.

On July 1st, 1972, London held the UK’s first pride march. This date was chosen as the closest Saturday to the anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in 1969. Pride marches have since become annual events throughout the UK and around the world.

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