Pride Means Resistance - Pride 2023

Stonewall. It is a word we have all heard in conjunction with Pride. We all have vague inklings of its history, of its events. How did it become a watershed moment in queer history, developing its own mythos and misconceptions– a story wrapped in itself? What about the Stonewall uprising makes it such a good example for the kind of activism LGBTQ+ people were doing in the late 1960s?

The answer is resistance.

By the mid-20th century, a wave of activist action swept many parts of the globe, demanding social change for a myriad of discriminated groups. An aspect of these demands for social changes were LGBTQ+ persons publicly advocating for their rights; namely, their right to exist without fear of prosecution. Many nations in the 19th and 20th centuries had codified queer identities and relationships as being punishable by law, and in many cases, punishable by execution. The mid-20th century saw an uprising of queer resistance to these unethical practices, coalescing in the creation of many different LGBTQ+ activist groups. LGBTQ+ folk had officially had enough.

The Stonewall Uprising in New York in 1969 is just one of thousands upon thousands of uprisings, protests, and other forms of queer activism that were occurring across the globe simultaneously. These protests and organized events showcased a strong community that was willing to fight for the rights of one another to live freely. The phrase “The First Pride Was A Riot” is a reminder that the fight for safety and community was not something that was achieved by peaceful negotiation. The Pride we have today is the culmination of queer elders who risked unemployment, incarceration, discrimination, and all forms of violence in order to make the essential statement that LGBTQ+ folk deserve respect and to live without fear.