Gay Americans in the 1950s and 1960s faced an anti-gay legal system. Early homophile groups in the U.S. sought to prove that gay people could be assimilated into society, and they favored non-confrontational education for homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. The last years of the 1960s, however, were very contentious, as many social/political movements were active, including the Civil Rights Movement, the counterculture of the 1960s, and the anti-Vietnam War movement. These influences, along with the liberal environment of Greenwich Village, served as catalysts for the Stonewall riots.
Very few establishments welcomed openly gay people in the 1950s and 1960s. Those that did were often bars, although bar owners and managers were rarely gay. At the time, the Stonewall Inn was owned by the Mafia. It catered to an assortment of patrons and was known to be popular among the poorest and most marginalized people in the gay community: drag queens, transgender people, effeminate young men, butch lesbians, male prostitutes, and homeless youth. Police raids on gay bars were routine in the 1960s, but officers quickly lost control of the situation at the Stonewall Inn. They attracted a crowd that was incited to riot. Tensions between New York City police and gay residents of Greenwich Village erupted into more protests the next evening, and again several nights later. Within weeks, Village residents quickly organized into activist groups to concentrate efforts on establishing places for gays and lesbians to be open about their sexual orientation without fear of being arrested.
After the Stonewall riots, gays and lesbians in New York City faced gender, race, class, and generational obstacles to becoming a cohesive community. Within six months, two gay activist organizations were formed in New York, concentrating on confrontational tactics, and three newspapers were established to promote rights for gays and lesbians. Within a few years, gay rights organizations were founded across the U.S. and the world. On June 28, 1970, the first gay pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago commemorating the anniversary of the riots. Similar marches were organized in other cities. Today, Gay Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall riots. The Stonewall National Monument was established at the site in 2016.
The month of June was chosen for LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969. As a result, many pride events are held during this month to recognize the impact LGBT people have had in the world. Brenda Howard is known as the "Mother of Pride", for her work in coordinating the first LGBT Pride march, and she also originated the idea for a week-long series of events around Pride Day which became the genesis of the annual LGBT Pride celebrations that are now held around the world every June. Additionally, Howard along with fellow LGBT rights activists Robert A. Martin (aka Donny the Punk) and L. Craig Schoonmaker are credited with popularizing the word "Pride" to describe these festivities. As LGBT rights activist Tom Limoncelli put it, "The next time someone asks you why LGBT Pride marches exist or why [LGBT] Pride Month is June tell them 'A bisexual woman named Brenda Howard thought it should be.'"
On several occasions, the President of the United States has officially declared a Pride Month. First, President Bill Clinton declared June "Gay & Lesbian Pride Month" on June 2, 2000. Then, in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, President Barack Obama declared June Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.
Google marked any LGBT-related search results in June 2012 with a rainbow colored pattern underneath search results
There are five main Pride events in the UK gay pride calendar: London, Brighton, Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham being the largest and are the cities with the biggest gay populations.
Lesbian Strength March 1983
Pride London is one of the biggest in Europe and takes place on the final Saturday in June or first Saturday in July each year. London also hosted a Black Pride in August and Soho Pride or a similar event every September. During the early 1980s there was a women-only Lesbian Strength march held each year a week before the Gay Pride march. 2012 saw World Pride coming to London.
Brighton Pride is held on the first Saturday of August (apart from the 2012 where event was moved to September due to the 2012 Olympics). The event starts from the sea front and culminating at Preston Park.
Liverpool Pride was launched in 2010, but by 2011 it became the largest free Gay Pride festival in the United Kingdom outside London. (Liverpool's LGBT population was 94,000 by mid-2009 according to the North West Regional Development Agency.
Manchester Pride centres around the famous Canal Street and Is usually held about the 3rd weekend of August.
Birmingham Pride usually takes place during the final Spring bank holiday weekend in May, and focuses on the Birmingham Gay Village area of the city, with upwards of 70,000 people in attendance annually
Pride events also happen in most other major cities such as Belfast, Londonderry, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, Sheffield and Newcastle.
Montreal's Gay Pride Parade (in French, Défilé de la fierté gai) is held in mid-August and has taken place every year since 1979, when a group of 200 people commemorated New York City's 1969 Stonewall Riots with "Gairilla", a precursor to Montreal's gay pride parade celebrations. The festivities take place over six days, from Tuesday through Sunday, with events centered on the Gay Village, and in particular, Place Émilie-Gamelin.
Toronto's pride parade has been held yearly since 1981. In 2003 its activists help score a major victory when the Ontario Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling which made same-sex marriage legal in Ontario, the first jurisdiction in North America to do so. By this time the Toronto Pride Week Festival had been running for twenty-three years. It is also one of the largest, attracting around 1.3 million people in 2009. The latest pride parade in Toronto was held on Sunday July 3, 2016. Toronto hosted WorldPride in 2014.
Canada Capital, Ottawa's annual pride parade named Capital Pride is held in late August. Held yearly since 1986 Capital Prides goal is to help educate and promote the issues and interests of the LGBTQ community. In 1998 the Capital Pride Week Committee received a letter of support from Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.
Vancouver's Pride Parade takes place each year during the August long weekend (BC Day falls on the first Monday of August in the province of British Columbia). The parade takes place in the downtown core with over 150 floats moving along Robson Street, Denman Street and along Davie Street. The parade has a crowd of over 150,000 attendees with well over half a million in attendance for the August 4, 2013 Pride Parade. New for 2013 are the permanently painted rainbow crosswalks in Vancouver's West End neighbourhood at Davie and Bute streets. The city of Surrey, in the Metro Vancouver area also hosts a Pride Festival, though on a much smaller scale.
New York City's LGBT Pride March began in 1970, as did Los Angeles Pride, Chicago Pride, and Pride San Francisco that year.
The 2011 New York City parade was held just two days after the legalization of gay marriage in the state of New York. Other pride parades include Boston Pride, Rhode Island Pride in Providence, Chicago Pride Parade, Denver PrideFest, Columbus Pride, Cincinnati Pride, Albuquerque Pride, Atlanta Pride, Augusta Pride, Capital Pride, Come Out With Pride (Orlando), Circle City IN Pride, Houston Gay Pride Parade, Jacksonville Pride, Nashville Pride, New Orleans Decadence, San Diego Pride, Long Beach (CA) LGBT Pride, Palm Springs Pride, Philly Pride, Queens Pride, San Francisco Pride, Seattle Pride, St. Louis PrideFest, Portland Pride, Twin Cities Pride (Minneapolis/St. Paul) and Utah Pride Festival, among many others.
The first gay pride parade in Mexico occurred in Mexico City in 1979, and it was attended by over a thousand people. Ever since, it has been held annually under different slogans, with the purpose of bringing visibility to sexual minorities, raising awareness about HIV/AIDS, fighting homophobia, and advocating for LGBT rights, including the legalization of civil unions, same-sex marriages, and LGBT adoption. In 2009, more than 350,000 people attended the gay pride march in Mexico City—100,000 more than the previous year. Guadalajara has also held their own Guadalajara Gay Pride every June since 1996, and it is the second largest gay pride parade in the country. Gay pride parades have also spread to the cities of Monterrey, León, Guanajuato, Puebla, Puebla, Tijuana, Toluca, Cancun, Acapulco, Mérida, Yucatán, Xalapa, Cuernavaca, Chihuahua, Matamoros, Saltillo, Mazatlan, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and Hermosillo, among others.
There are two cities in Puerto Rico that celebrate pride parades/festivals. The first one began in June, 1990 in San Juan; later in June, 2003 the city of Cabo Rojo started celebrating its own pride parade. The pride parade in Cabo Rojo has become very popular and has received thousands of attendees in the last few years. San Juan Pride runs along Ashford Avenue in the Condado area (a popular tourist district), while Cabo Rojo Pride takes place in Boquerón
The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras is the largest Australian pride event and one of the largest in the world. The celebrations emerged during the early 1980s after arrests were made during pro-gay rights protests that began in 1978. The parade is held at night with nearly 10,000 participants on and around elaborate floats representing topical themes as well as political messages.
Auckland's City Auckland Pride Festival holds its parade in February every year. In March, Wellington also holds a pride parade during the Wellington Pride Festival.
São Paulo Gay Pride Parade happens in Paulista Avenue, in the city of São Paulo, since 1997. In the year of 2006, it was named the biggest pride parade of the world by Guinness World Records. In 2010, the city hall of São Paulo invested R$1 million in the parade.
The Pride Parade is heavily supported by the federal government as well as by the Governor of São Paulo, the event counts with a solid security plan, many politicians show up to open the main event and the government not rarely parades with a float with politicians on top of it. In the Pride the city usually receives about 400,000 tourists and moves between R$180 million and R$190 million.
The Pride and its associated events are organized by the Associação da Parada do Orgulho de Gays, Lésbicas, Bissexuais e Travestis e Transsexuais, since its foundation in 1999. The march is the event's main activity and the one that draws the biggest attention to the press, the Brazilian authorities, and the hundreds of thousands of curious people that line themselves along the parade's route. In 2009, 3.2 million people attended the 13th annual Gay Pride Parade.
The second biggest Pride Parade in Brazil is Rio de Janeiro Gay Pride Parade, numbering about 2 million people, traditionally taking place in Zona Sul or Rio's most affluent neighborhoods between the city center and the world-famous oceanic beaches, which usually happens in the second part of the year, when it is winter or spring in the Southern Hemisphere, generally characterizing milder weather for Rio de Janeiro (about 15°C in difference), except for some storm and cold fronts which occasionally came from southerly latitudes through the year but most commonly in winter. The Rio de Janeiro Gay Pride Parade and its associated events are organized by the NGO Arco-Íris (Portuguese for rainbow). The group is one of the founders of the Associação Brasileira de Gays, Lésbicas, Bissexuais, Travestis e Transexuais (Brazilian Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites (this word used as a synonym for transgender persons in Brazil) and Transsexuals). Other Pride Parades which happen in Greater Rio de Janeiro take place in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro's ex-capital in the times when Rio was the Brazilian capital and a separated Federal District, and Nova Iguaçu, where about 800,000 persons live and is located in the center of Baixada Fluminense, which compose all northern suburban cities of Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area numbering 3.5 million people.
Other Southeastern Brazilian parades are held in Cabo Frio (Rio de Janeiro), Campinas (São Paulo), Vitória (capital of Espírito Santo), and Belo Horizonte and Uberaba (Minas Gerais). Southern Brazilian parades take place in Curitiba, Florianópolis, Porto Alegre and Pelotas, and Center-Western ones happen in Campo Grande, Cuiabá, Goiânia and Brasília. Across Northeastern Brazil, they are present in all capitals, namely, in Salvador, Aracaju, Maceió, Recife, João Pessoa, Natal, Fortaleza, Teresina and São Luís, and also in Ceará's hinterland major urban center, Juazeiro do Norte. Northern Brazilian parades are those from Belém, Macapá, Boa Vista and Manaus.
Buenos Aires held a pride parade and festival in 2011 that was attended by several thousand people. Argentina was one of the first countries in the Western Hemisphere to legalize gay marriage.