The 28th June is International Pride Day, a day that marks the anniversary of the start of the Stonewall Riots – and the start of Pride. To celebrate this day our Director, Lucy Malarkey, was asked to speak to a global team of Quark colleagues – to share her experiences and lessons learnt about being an LGBTQ+ ally.
The Stonewall Riots, also called the Stonewall Uprising, took place on June 28, 1969, in New York City, after police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar/club in Greenwich Village. This sort of raid wasn’t new, it had happened previously, but what was unique on this occasion was the fact that this raid resulted in the bar’s customers, staff, and neighbourhood residents rioting onto the street outside.
The Stonewall riots went on for days, only ending on 3 July 1969 and it was this rioting that ignited what became a long struggle for LGBTQ+ equality….in America and beyond.
Fast forward 53 years and whilst the legislation and rights afforded to those identifying as LGBTQ+ are not the same worldwide (at all!) Pride celebrations now take place across the vast majority of the world. And whilst these aren’t just limited to June it’s still recognised as Pride Month and the 28th being significant as the day when the riots started as being the International Pride Day.
Pride is all about celebrating the achievements made so far, uplifting LGBTQ+ voices and recognising that there is still more to do to achieve genuine equality, it’s about learning from our past and standing together in solidarity. Pride brings together allies and the LGBTQ+ community – as a united front.
Whilst 2023 will certainly see significantly more celebration than we had in the 1970s and without doubt since the 1970s significant progress has been made in terms of equality legislation, the significance and relevance of Pride is as important now as it was then. And, arguably it is becoming increasingly so….
The celebration of Pride is based on different themes every year, to help people to engage in discussions and raise awareness about some of the key issues that the LGBTQ+ community continue to face. These themes vary in different countries; in India this year’s theme is ‘Rage and Resilience’, in the US it’s ‘Solidarity’ and London’s theme is ‘Never Stand Alone’. All of which reflect the current global climate with the resurgence of anti-LGBTQ+ bills and laws, the rise in anti- LGBTQ+ violence and the rolling back of previously won human rights.
What we have also seen this year is a growing, high profile anti-LGBTQ+ voice who have challenged/threatened to boycott products and services which have adopted a, particularly trans inclusive, stance. And most worryingly on the back of this we have seen bands backtrack and give in to these voices..
Pride it is evident, still matters a great deal! And active allies are absolutely critical, now more than ever.