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Celebrating PRIDE Month



Hawaiʻi Health & Harm Reduction Center (HHHRC) joins people across the nation in celebrating Pride Month in June, uplifting LGBTQ+ voices, celebrating the work of LGBTQ+ people, affirming the dignity and value of those in the LGBTQ+ community, and committing to the support and advancement of sexual and gender minorities in civil rights laws, policies, and practices.   

 

While Pride Month is officially celebrated on Oʻahu in October, the neighboring islands are celebrating in June:  

 

 

Why June?  

 

The Stonewall Uprising in New York City occurred 55 years ago, beginning on June 28, 1969, and lasting for six days. It began as a spontaneous protest against a police raid at the Stonewall Inn. Clubs like the Stonewall Inn were often unlicensed due to criminal laws and owned and operated by the mafia. As such, they were subject to frequent raids by law enforcement, with many arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.   

 

Along with club raids, criminalization of sexual and gender minorities was endemic across the nation and included arrest, incarceration, and other penalties for same-sex sexual acts and wearing clothing of a gender other than one’s sex at birth. The National Archives ran an article in Prologue Magazine on the Lavender Scare in 2016

 

PBS has a documentary feature, “Stonewall Uprising,” available in full online. While many view Stonewall as the beginning of the gay rights movement, Professor Timothy Patrick McCarthy noted to The Harvard Gazette, “The foundation for the movement [was] laid in the decades before in public and private battles, in different organizations and through the work of many people.”  

 

Among them were Frank Kameny, an astronomer who was fired from the Army Map Service in 1957 and openly contested the American Psychiatric Association’s categorization of homosexuality as a mental illness, which was the case until 1973. National Public Radio has a 38-minute podcast on gay rights prior to 1969, “Before Stonewall.” 

 

According to the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee, the first Pride parade was held in 1970 to “commemorate the ‘Christopher Street Uprisings’ [in] which thousands of homosexuals went to the streets to demonstrate against centuries of abuse [and] betrayal of their human rights by virtually all segments of society.”  

 

The Library of Congress features a 12-minute film on the first Pride march, “Gay and Proud.”  

 

The New York Times did not mention Pride Month until 1989. 

 

President Barack Obama designated the Stonewall Inn as a National Monument in 2016. The proclamation called the Stonewall Uprising “a watershed moment for LGBT civil rights and a transformative event in the Nation’s civil rights movement on par with the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls and the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery March for voting rights in its role in energizing a broader community to demand equal rights.” 

 

In 2019, The Nation magazine ran a series of articles marking the 50th anniversary of the uprising, “Reclaiming Stonewall.” 

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