The History of Pride

Pride is an event that happens annually in cities around the world. It is a time for the LGBT+ community and allies to stand in solidarity and celebrate their authentic selves.

LGBT+ rights have come a long way in world history, however it wasn’t until June 28, 1969 when The Stonewall riots in Manhattan occurred that a significant change in LGBT+ history was sparked. These riots gave birth to the pride parade movement. Two years after the riots, gay rights groups formed in almost every major city in the United States. Canada’s three most populated cities Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver have their own annual pride parades. However, smaller Canadian cities such as London, Ontario participate in the movement as well. Canada legalized same-sex marriage in July 2005.

Before 1969 there were not many places in North America where people could be openly gay. There were many laws in several states and provinces that restricted gay civil rights. In New York, homosexuality was illegal in public. Several private businesses and gay establishments were also shut down due to anti-gay laws.

The riot was started by a group of angry Stonewall Inn (a well known gay bar) customers in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, New York. Not long after word got out about the demonstration against police raiding the club on the night of June 27, 1969, several other customers joined and threw objects at police while shouting “gay power”. The riots continued for several days after June 28, 1969 with the number of demonstrators and the intensity of the riots growing.


A year after the first riot, the first pride parades were held in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and near the Stonewall Inn in New York.

After the Stonewall riots, there were many other significant milestones that have been met throughout gay rights history around the world.

The first African LGBT pride parade was held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1990. South Africa was also the first African country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2006.

Turkey was the first Muslim country to host a pride parade in Istanbul which involved just a small group of marchers at the celebration in 2003. In 2011, the number of attendees reached to 10,000 people.


President Obama declared June as the official LGBT pride month in 2012 and gay marriage is legal nationwide just a year ago on June 26, 2015.

There are many more milestones that the LGBT+ community has achieved over the past 47 years. However, gay rights still have a long way to go with many people around the world still living in nations with anti-gay laws and regular homophobic attacks.

There were several homophobic attacks in past Moscow pride parades and the city received a century ban on gay pride parades by Moscow courts in 2012.

The Orlando night club shooting at Pulse night club was the highest number of deaths in a massacre in U.S. history with 49 deaths and 53 people wounded. This massacre happening less than 6 months ago on June 12, 2016 just shows how much more the gay rights movement needs to grow.

APTOPIX Nightclub Shooting Florida

It is not just about the LGBT+ community receiving their equal rights. It is about being able to openly be yourself no matter who you choose to love without having to worry about losing your life over it. It is these homophobic laws and ideologies that cause people to not only not accept others but not accept themselves for who they choose to innocently love. It is about giving a voice and justice to marginalized groups within the LGBT+ community who often face even harsher discrimination.

There are many countries that celebrate the pride parade and gay rights movement, but there are also several nations that don’t celebrate the movement and face anti-gay laws and regular homophobic attacks.

Check out the interactive map below to see some of the major cities around the world that celebrate pride.


The Leadership Conference –

Gay Pride Around the World –





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