Today, Sunday, June 24th, thousands are donning the colors of the rainbow and attending the New York City Pride March. In honor of this joyous and important day, we wanted to give you some history on how it all began.
New York City’s official LGBT Pride events commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969. At the time, police raids were common in gay bars or suspected queer spaces. In the early hours of June 28th, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a known hangout for the gay community in NYC’s Greenwich Village. Thirteen people were arrested. But unlike in previous raids, people fought back against the arrests, and the Stonewall raid led to riots, which sparked a fire in the gay rights movement.
Exactly one year later, on June 28th, 1970, the first Gay Pride March was held by the Christian Street Liberation Day Committee in New York City. This was the first dedicated event to commemorate the Stonewall Riots. Other protest gatherings called the Annual Reminders had occurred in Philadelphia, but this was the first time a march was held in the name of gay rights. According to the NYC Pride website, the marchers filled 15 city blocks.
By the summer of 1984, there were Gay Pride marches and parades across the country.
In New York, Heritage of Pride was created to take over the planning from the now-disbanded Christian Street Liberation Day Committee. By 1993, after the passing of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the Heritage of Pride renamed the Christian Street Festival to PrideFest.
To this day, Heritage of Pride still runs the New York City Pride March.