The History of LGBTQ+ Pride Month

Pride Month takes place in June. It’s an annual celebration of the many contributions made by the LGBTQ+ community to history, society and cultures worldwide.

How LGBTQ+ Pride Month Began

The roots of the American gay rights movement trace back to the early 1900s and the establishment of the first gay and lesbian organizations in North America. For instance, the Society for Human Rights, founded by Henry Gerber in Chicago during the 1920s, was one such organization. Despite progress in the postwar era, basic civil rights were largely denied to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

However, everything changed in June 1969 during the Stonewall Riots in New York City. The New York Police Department raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay and lesbian-friendly bar in Greenwich Village, leading to confrontations and violent clashes with the LGBTQ+ community. The riots sparked a global movement, catapulting gay rights to front-page news worldwide.

The First Pride Parade

One year after the Stonewall Riots, activists in New York City marched through the streets of Manhattan to honor the victims of the previous year’s violent police raid. This march, organized by the Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations (ERCHO) and the Christopher Street Liberation Day Umbrella Committee, became known as the Gay Pride Parade. Over time, this celebration evolved into the Pride Month we recognize today.

Why Is Pride Month in June?

Pride Month occurs in June as a commemoration of the Stonewall riots that began on June 28, 1969. The LGBTQ+ community’s resilience during those events ignited a movement that continues to shape our world. U.S. presidents, including Joe Biden, have officially recognized Pride Month, emphasizing the importance of LGBTQ+ rights and visibility.

During remarks at the 2023 Pride Celebration at the White House, President Biden told the LGBTQ+ community that his entire administration “has your back.”

“You know, too many people in the LGBT community are worried and afraid about their future and their safety. So today, I want to send a message to the entire community, especially to transgender children: You are loved. You are heard. You are understood. And you belong!”

How Companies Can Celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Year-Round

While Pride Month is crucial, companies can demonstrate true allyship by supporting the LGBTQ+ community throughout the year. Here are some steps to consider:

Create a Welcoming Space for Everyone: Prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives tailored to your organization. Seek out diverse talent pools and commit to fostering an inclusive workplace.

Hire LGBTQ+ Leaders in an Authentic Way: Avoid performative gestures and hire members of the community for the value they bring to the organization, especially in leadership positions. Diverse perspectives enrich business approaches and company culture.

Partner with LGBTQ+ Organizations: Actively engage with and support LGBTQ+ causes, both internally and externally.

Continually Show Support: Go beyond one-time campaigns. Support LGBTQ+ causes financially and authentically. Consider creating inclusive marketing and advertising year-round to take a stand against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

Subscribe to Fair360 Enterprise to download our 2024 LBGTQ+ Pride Month Meeting in a Box! This toolkit provides a comprehensive timeline of LGBTQ+ history in the United States, facts and figures concerning LBGTQ+ individuals, and an exploration of how organizations can support their LGBTQ+ employees during Pride Month and year-round.