June is known worldwide as Pride Month, and is commonly seen as the month where the LGBTQIA+ community’s achievements, lives, and even losses are equally celebrated and mourned.
While Pride is typically associated with parades and large-scale community events and celebrations today, its origins have always been grounded in political resistance, protest, and organisation by and for the LGBTQIA+ community.
This Pride Month, Ask & Embla is honouring the trailblazers who fought for the right to live peacefully and with dignity as LGBTQIA+ individuals during an era that was hostile to them based solely on their lives and identities. We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community and acknowledge that the fight for full and true LGBTQIA+ liberation still continues.
Pride Then: A Fight for Freedom
Pathologisation and criminalisation of homosexuality in the first half of the 20th century meant that gay and bisexual men were often subject to discrimination and violence. At the same time there was also widespread demonisation and shame of other members of the LGBTQ community such as lesbians and transgender men and women.
Though these attitudes still linger – whether overtly or covertly – there has still been a sea change in the level of visibility, dignity, and respect accorded to LGBTQ people today.
All of that earlier hostility was what made dozens of smaller riots and instances of civil resistance such as the Cooper Do-nuts Riot in 1959 Los Angeles or Milwaukee’s Black Nite Brawl in 1961 incredible – because LGBTQ people were starting to fight back and demand the same space and dignity as anyone else!
Slogans such as “Gay Power” were beginning to be used in intra-community publications in the 1960s and 1970s as well, later evolving into “Gay Pride” or just “Pride”.
Then the Stonewall Inn Riots happened in June 1969 in New York City – an event commonly considered the firestarter for the global gay liberation movement and the modern LGBT rights movement in the USA. Names such as Stormé DeLarverie, Marsha P. Johnson, and Sylvia Rivera entered the cultural consciousness, and even today are well-known amongst LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ individuals alike.
The very first Pride Marches were held the following year in June 1970 to mark the anniversary of “Stonewall”. Taking place in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles, these Christopher Street Day marches were a bold and firm response to existing attitudes of shame and ostracisation regarding homosexuality.
In the decades since, those inaugural Christopher Street Day marches have evolved into a yearly tradition for LGBTQ communities worldwide and the month of June has become a full Pride Month dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ community.
The Power of Pride Today
Pride has always been political from the beginning and that tradition still continues today. From demanding action on HIV during the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s to setting up voter registration booths today, Pride Marches remain a crucial space for community organisations in the name of LGBTQ liberation.
The original slogans associated with Pride have also grown to include Lesbian, Bisexual, and Non-Binary identities under a wider LGBTQIA+ umbrella – reflecting the changing understandings of sexuality and gender over time.
As an alternative jewelry brand that values authenticity, diversity, and affirmation, we here at Ask & Embla recognise that the fight for LGBTQ liberation still persists today. We recognise that as it stands, there is still much more that can and should be done before LGBTQIA+ individuals can live with full dignity, honour, and respect. We want to help lead the fight for a safer and more inclusive world for all which is why for the month of June, we will be donating a portion of all sales to the Trevor Project. With our donation, we hope to contribute to The Trevor Project’s work through advocacy, research, public education and provision of support services to help LGBTQIA+ youth navigate topics like mental health, sexual orientation and gender identity in a safe space. Check out the ‘Pride Month’ highlight on our Instagram page and stay tuned as we highlight the diversity, resilience, and uninhibited beauty within the community.
We also want to share helpful resources so anyone and everyone can receive the help they deserve or connect with useful channels to help uplift the community.
Hotlines for LGBTQIA+ individuals and youth:
- The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386
- LGBT National Youth Talkline: 800-246-7743
- Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860 (USA) or 877-330-6366 (Canada)
- LGBT National Hotline: 888-843-4564
- DeHQ Helpline for South Asians: 908-367-3374
- LGBT National Online Peer-Support Chat
LGBTQ+ charities and community organisations that deserve your support:
- The Trevor Project
- Human Rights Campaign Foundation
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders)
- Lambda Legal
- The Ali Forney Center
- Family Equality
- Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice
Sources we wish to acknowledge: