This June will mark the 49th year since the Stonewall Riots, a watershed moment in the modern-day LGBTQ rights movement and creating the Pride Month we know today. Yet it wasn’t until more than three decades afterwards that a United States president would declare June as a month of pride and commemoration for LGBTQ people in the country. And before we move forward with our celebration, it’s important to understand how we got here.
While the Stonewall Riots are mostly considered the pivotal moment in creating LGBTQ pride, major actions for visibility and equal rights were taking place beforehand in the 1950s and 1960s. Early demonstrations were done by the Mattachine Society, which focused on civil and political rights of gay men, and the Daughters of Bilitis, a lesbian rights group, with both carrying out Philadelphia’s “Annual Reminders” which saw picketers reminding Americans that LGBTQ people did not receive basic civil rights. In response to the police raid at Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn, now known as the Stonewall Riots, the queer community and its supporters decided they would meet in June in New York City to march and remember the incident. Originally called Christopher Street Liberation Day, the demonstration took place on June 28, 1970, with similar demonstrations spreading annually around the country and world. In 2000, President Bill Clinton declared June as “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month” and the month has gone unrecognized except for President Barack Obama later declaring the month as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month every year of his presidency.
While the history is certainly a part of the celebration, here at Fuse we’re using the next 30 days to look forward. We’re celebrating Future LGBTQ History. Each day during the month of June, we’ll spotlight the future of LGBTQ history by showcasing the world’s most talented, creative and influential people on the rise. Some are young and at the start of their takeover; others are already commanding the world’s attention. What brings these people together is the promise of inspiring change for years to come.