Gay Pride is a world-wide celebration of colour with street marches, dancing, rainbow coloured outfits, and a whole load of fun in honour of social and self acceptance, the LGBT achievements, the evolution of legal rights and of course... a show of PRIDE! What started out as a demonstration of human rights almost 50 years ago, has grown and gained momentum all across the western world with many Gay Pride Parades now promoted as a tourist event. These parades such as Brighton and London City attract over 300,000 people each year, and can proudly boast that they boost the local economy as well as supporting many charities and trusts. With this many people in attendance Pride Parades have evolved from a Parade into a Festival with a Carnival-like atmosphere, often including Concerts, Beer stands, Food traders, Barbeques, Sports and Games, with activities for families and a welcoming vibe of inclusion for everyone.
But behind all the glitter and extravagance there is a historical significance to the parade.
The 1960s were not welcoming times for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender). It was illegal to display ‘homosexuality’ in public, for people of the same sex to dance together and people were forbidden from selling alcohol to gay people.
A Bar in New York City had set itself up as a place for LGBT people to go and completely be themselves without the risk of being arrested! However because the Bar was operating without a liqueur license, in 1969 it was raided by the New York City police. One lady was hit over the head by a police officer, resulting in a gathering crowd which grew larger until eventually it turned into a full blown riot, in which 13 people were arrested.
Police officers came from all over the city to help control the riot, they managed to disperse the crowd and control the situation. However this wasn’t the end, merely the beginning. The following six days, demonstrations continued to take place outside the Bar, with thousands of people showing up to express their solidarity.
This was a breaking point for the LGBT community, a group of activists pleaded to the Easter Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations (ERCHO) in Philadelphia to allow them to hold a march to commemorate the one year anniversary of the raid. The proposal was for an annual march with no dress code or age restrictions. The plea had been accepted, and the activists began planning their march.
Word spread, and San Francisco decided to commemorate the riot, by holding their own march in which 30 people attended. Since then, word has spread worldwide, with not only major cities, but towns now holding their own march. The march has now turned from a walk through the streets to a full blown festival; Pride festival, celebrating, raising awareness and campaigning for the freedom to allow the LGBT community to live their lives on a genuinely equal footing.
In 2016, 1 million people took to the streets of San Francisco to attend the Pride Festival.
For a full summary of the History of Gay Pride have a read; How Activists Plotted the First Gay Pride Parades.
Gay Pride Festivals across the UK begin as early as February, with the majority of parades taking place between June and August, and continuing until the end of September. We have the biggest Pride Festival in Dorset next weekend 12th - 14th July in Bournemouth! https://bournefree.co.uk/
So what are you waiting for? Cover yourself in body paint, grab some rainbow Pride Accessories and get yourself down to your next local Gay Pride Festival!
To find out how you can get involved with your local Gay Pride Festival; head on over to Pink UK.
To find out more about this year's San Francisco festival read the San Francisco Chronicle's review here.
Check out this footage:
We’ve also created a Pinterest Board to give you some inspiration and ideas on how you can get your bright and colourful Pride Glow this year!