About the event
Pride month is a month set out in the year to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. This includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual, asexual, non-binary genders and other non-heterosexual sexualities. First held in several US cities in 1970, the original pride parades commemorated the Stonewall Riots that occurred in New York on the 28th of June 1969.
The Stonewall Riots broke out after police raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. LGBTQ+ people reacted violently against what was seen as aggressive hostility from the state towards gay people. Since the first parades in 1970, Pride has been about reversing the negative, homophobic treatment of LGBTQ+ people and instead, celebrating their experiences, achievements and rights.
Over half a century, pride months and pride parades have expanded internationally and are now recognised by governments, institutions and businesses around the world.
How to approach it
As you will know, this topic must be approached with care given that you may have students in your class who are LGBTQ+, visible or otherwise. Pride month is simultaneously a month of celebration and of awareness raising. Students should be encouraged to think about both of these aspects.
In terms of celebration, it's always useful to share examples of past famous LGBTQ+ people. Through this we can show that gay people have always been a part of our societies and their contribution should be celebrated as such. When sharing these stories be sure to find a diverse list including men, women, people of colour, trans people and any other aspects of the LGBTQ+ community you can find. At the same time, it’s important to discuss with students that LGBTQ+ people don’t have to be famous or successful in order to be celebrated. Show students that there are millions of LGBTQ+ people in the UK and around the world.
In terms of awareness raising, telling the story of the Stonewall Riot and preceding pride parades is a great way to begin discussion around the issues and challenges faced by LGBTQ+ people. Ask: why were there riots then? What rights and attitude changes were these demonstrations calling for? What was it like then and in the past for LGBTQ+ people? Next, guide discussion towards the present and ask students what has changed between then and now. Has anything gotten better? What continues to be an issue? You could show for example that, in the UK, the infamous Section 28 laws which intentionally limited the funding of LGBTQ+ community groups were only repealed in 2003. Discuss with students what we can all do to create an accepting, open environment that allows all genders and sexualities to flourish.
Pride month celebrates LGBTQ+ people and raises awareness about the continued struggle for their fair treatment. Pride parades are colourful occasions where LGBTQ+ people get together and loudly march down streets in cities all over the world. Why do you think they do this? What things can we do to ensure that everyone feels proud and accepted wherever they go?