Gay & Lesbian Services of Western New York

Pride Month History

A fifteen year old asks, “I have heard that June is PRIDE Month but I am not sure what it is all about. Is there anything in it for me?”

ABSOLUTELY! Read on please.

First, a little history: In New York City at the Stonewall Inn on June 27, 1969, a group of mostly drag queens gathered at the Inn to mourn the passing of Judy Garland had finally had it with being continuously harassed by the police and decided to fight back This event inspired GLBT people to begin to form GLBT rights organizations throughout the country and so the modern GLBT movement was formed. June, therefore, has become designated as PRIDE Month.

Over the years many cities, including Buffalo, have utilized the month of June to bring attention to GLBT persons and to celebrate and honor our lives and our diversity through workshops, Parades, dances and other organized events. In 1993 a group known as the Lesbian Avengers organized the first Dyke March in Washington, DC and this has become an annual event for many cities usually occurring the night before that particular city’s Pride Parade.

Buffalo has been organizing Pride activities and events since the early 1990s. In 1999, the group of GLBT persons then responsible for organizing Pride events formed Pride Buffalo, Inc. to represent a visible presence in the community to plan, seek funding and implement Pride activities. Access their website at www.pridebuffalo.org to learn more about Buffalo’s Pride month activities.

So why go to workshops, or the parades or the post parade celebration and stage show? For one thing, THEY ARE FREE! But more importantly, whether you march in a parade or watch on the sidelines, being around such a large and diverse group of GLBT people and perhaps for the first time being in the majority in a group is a transforming experience. I remember how nervous I was the first time I attended and how that nervousness changed into excitement as I saw with my own eyes so many of my community that had been invisible to me. That feeling of being all alone or one of few ended in that experience as I was surrounded by hundreds of GLBT people brought together to celebrate our lives and have fun. Sometimes at your school you may feel alone, isolated and like you are the only one. You may feel unsupported and afraid to be visible. At Pride events you are not alone and it can be a chance to find and make new friends.

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