Today I celebrate Gay Pride by giving you just a tiny hint of celebrations through the years of Gay Pride Parades and celebrations. The one thing I insisted on in my quest for photographs was that I knew the year and something about where or when the event was going on. It is simply amazing to think that what started off as a few drag queens and butch dykes fighting back during a raid of the Stonewall Inn during the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, turned into two hundred people fighting back which turned into hundreds of people over six days with protests and violent clashes with law enforcement outside the bar on Christopher Street, in neighboring streets and in nearby Christopher Park.
And that then, a year later, there was that first Gay Pride parade. By many accounts of people who attended, it started small—just a few hundred people downtown in front of the Stonewall Inn—but by the time it arrived 50 blocks north, at Central Park, the crowd numbered in the thousands. The march stretched 15 blocks—three quarters of a mile—at its longest.
That first March was held in 1970 and has since become an annual civil rights demonstration. Over the years, its purpose has broadened to include recognition of the fight against AIDS and to remember those we have lost to illness, violence and neglect.
São Paulo Gay Pride Parade, 2006, was considered the biggest pride parade in the world by Guinness World Records with an estimated 2.5 million participants.
Word is that they are expecting 3.5 million at WorldPride NYC / Stonewall 50 this year.
We are living in interesting times!
Acceptance like never before!
But there is so far to go. There are countries where it is still illegal to be gay or lesbian or transgender. Countries where we are being tortured. Murdered.
If anyone ever asks you why we need Gay Pride celebrations? Tell them that the very reason they asked is why we need Gay Pride celebrations. And it is also to remind us that we should have PRIDE in who and what we are. Because what we are…is special and unique and beatufiful.
And God made us that way!
Peace and love,
BG “Ben” Thomas
I would really like to update this and if you have some pictures or can find some, AND, you know the year and location, you would make me happy beyond words. Please help me out!
People march into New York’s Central Park during the nation’s first Gay Pride parade on June 28th, 1970. Continue reading