As many of us know (hopefully), the month of June is Pride Month! This month celebrates and acknowledges the tremendous resilience and determination of the LGBTQIA+ community.
As we recognize the strength and courage of the LGTBQIA+ community this month, I think it’s important to move towards celebrating and supporting this community every month. Learning about the history of the journey of Pride is just as important, to grasp just how far we have come as a society, and how much work there is still to do.
Throughout our levels of education, history is a core subject that is taught. As I proceeded through different grades and levels of education, I started to become angry about history. Mainly because I felt that I was being taught a history that wasn’t the truth. I want to share the truth behind the history and journey that has led to the Pride Month we know and love now. Below, is a timeline dating back to the 1800’s to where we are now in relation to the triumphs of the LGBTQIA+ community.
1828: The term “Crime against nature” was created in the United States Criminal Code. Cornell’s Law school defines this term as “Sexual offenses that are unnatural or contrary to the order of nature.”
1867: Karl Heinrich Ulrichs was a writer who used his position to speak and condemn any criminalization of individuals who were accused of or engaged in same sexual activity. To some, he may be recognized as the Father of the LGBT Movement.
1907: “The Bloomsbury Group” was a group of writers and artists that came together to share their skills to welcome and support a culture of openness to sexuality and gender. The group was on their journey together for almost thirty years!
1951: The Mattachine Foundation was the first national Gay rights organization, founded by a group of men that identified as gay. The founders formed a safe space to hold group discussions about their personal experience and allowed others to do the same.
1955: The first Lesbian rights organization was created in the United States, known as The Daughters of Bilitis. The group was first created as a safe alternative space to bars and grew into a Rights organization.
1968: The first organization to support individuals who identified as Transsexual was created, known as The National Transsexual Counseling Unit. Conversations regarding research, education, and medical information were discussed openly.
1969: The Stonewall Riots occurred, which by many is known as the transformation of the Gay Rights movement. The Stonewall Inn located in NYC was a club, that was open and welcoming to individuals who identified as part of the LGBTQ community. This was a safe space for the community. It was a safe space until the day of June 28, when police raided the Inn. The police entered the Inn and dragged employees and customers out of the bar with the “reasoning” that alcohol was being sold without a license. While this was occurring, individuals outside of the bar were not running away, they were fighting for the safe space that had been created prior to this scene. Due to these individuals the police then blockaded themselves in the bar while the crowd outside grew to roughly four-hundred people. The riots outside of the Stonewall lasted for five days, protesting police harassment and social discrimination. The Stonewall Riots were possibly the first time that individuals that identified as part of the LGBTQ community recognized the power of coming together as a unified group to stand up for their rights.
1970: In remembrance of the Stonewall Riots, the first Pride March in the United States was held in NYC. A quote from a committee member of the March captures the essence and importance of the march. “We rioted because rich, or poor, young or old, we dared to be ourselves. We wanted to be ourselves, to be, to laugh and play in joy! We rioted to be gay.”
1973: The American Psychiatric Association removed the definition of homosexuality as a mental disorder.
1978: An artist named Gilbert Baker who identified as an openly gay man and a drag queen, designed the rainbow flag. This year marked the first year the flag was used as a symbol to celebrate and honor Gay Pride.
1981: This was the year that America saw its first cases of AIDS. The stigma that was associated with individuals who identified as gay at the time was heightened. This was due to the lack of funding, understanding, and confusion about what the disease was and how it was transmitted. Once again, the LGBTQ community came together to stand for their rights to live and gained media attention to recognize that this was not solely impacting members of the gay community, but other communities as well.
1993: The state of Minnesota passed the law that prohibited discrimination against individuals who identified as Transgender.
1996: The protection for individuals who identified as Gay, or Lesbian were guaranteed as civil rights by the Supreme Court.
2000 and Beyond
2000: The state of Vermont became the first state in the country to acknowledge civil unions between individuals who identified as Gay or Lesbian couples. This year also marked the year that President Bill Clinton named June Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.
2007: A bill passed by the House of Representatives safeguarded equal rights in the workplace for individuals who identified as Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual.
2009: Federal hate crime laws were extended to include crimes committed on the foundation of an individual’s sexual orientation and gender identity by President Obama. He went on to rename June as LGBT Pride Month.
2012: The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy stated that individuals who identified as gay that joined the military service, were not required to disclose their sexual orientation. Although if it was known that the individual identified as Gay, they could be discharged. This year marks President Obama ending the policy.
2015: The United States Supreme court ruled that same sex marriage was a legal right throughout the United States, marriage equality was legalized nationwide.
2016: Remember reading and learning about the riots that were held at the Stonewall Inn? This year the Stonewall Inn was named as a National Monument.
2019: The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots!
The Road Ahead
In no way does the timeline provided above encompass all the challenges that the LGBTQIA+ community have endured, especially for people of color in the community. I share the timeline with you in hopes that this encourages you to learn the true history of the community and the country we live in. The more that we educate ourselves with the truth, the more questions arise, and the better we will be moving forward. I encourage you to challenge what you have been taught and challenge yourself to grow.
How can we support you?
If you questioning your gender identify or sexual orientation, the therapists at Emma Schmidt & Associates would be happy to help. Please reach out with your questions and concerns. Let us know how you care for yourself, and how we can help support you!
1. Contact Emma Schmidt and Associates to request a free Counseling consultation.
2. Meet with a skilled therapist for Counseling through our HIPAA compliant platform.
3. Begin online Counseling and begin your journey towards mental wellness, health, and happiness.
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