This weekend marks the 41st anniversary of “Pride.” The Pride Festival is held in Loring Park from June 28th-30th. It focuses on raising awareness for GLBT rights and culminates in the annual Pride march on Sunday, starting at 11:00 a.m. on the corner of 3rd Street and Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. This year’s Grand Marshal is Chris Kluwe, the former Minnesota Vikings punter who has repeatedly shown his support for the GLBT community.
For the official Pride site, see the following link-
The GLBT population has always existed, and some might say that if we want to truly understand the GLBT movement, we need to go back and study cultures of ancient history, particularly ancient Greece and Rome. In fact, there is evidence that homosexuality existed on every continent as far back as history has been recorded. For more information on ancient homosexuality, see the following links-
But Pride is not about homosexuality in general, and it is not just a parade or a festival in a park, it is a phenomena of people from the community coming together to celebrate and commemorate the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender, (GLBT) rights movement. The GLBT Movement in America first came into the public eye during the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969. In Greenwich Village, New York, a riot started in the Stonewall Inn and lasted for six days. These riots were the culmination of multiple conflicts between the police and the GLBT population, and they coincided with other civil rights issues including racial discrimination
In this day and age it’s difficult to imagine, but as recently as the 1960’s, men could be arrested for something as innocent as dancing together in a club. Transgender people were arrested simply for walking down the street, and a multitude of other behaviors were all classed together under the offense of being “a crime against nature.” Raids of bars were common and resulted in multiple arrests. When police could not find people openly engaged in these behaviors, they used entrapment to arrest suspected homosexuals.
On June 28, 1969, members of the GLBT population fought back. Instead of running from the police, many GLBT members stood up to the police and refused to leave their home turf. As police tried to control the crowd, more GLBT members came from other neighborhoods to show their support and stand their ground. This day was seen as a victory for many and resulted in groups of GLBT people coming together to form organizations that supported their rights. Some of these organizations included the Gay Liberation Front, The Mattachine Society, and Daughters of Belitis. GLBT groups continued to grow, each with a different perspective . While the Mattachine Society continued picketing each year on June 28th in what they called, “The Annual Reminder,” other groups called for a less quiet form of protest, resulting in The Christopher Street Libertation Day, and the first gay pride march in the United States. For more information about the Stonewall Riots and the GLBT Rights Movement, see the following link-
When one hears about these struggles in the past, it’s amazing to think of how far we have come as a society. Pride is no longer reserved for one day out of the year. With the legalization of gay marriage in Minnesota and other states, as well as the recent overturn of DOMA, we can see how the GLBT rights movement is part of the American civil rights movement as a whole.
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