Here’s the story of how this human rights movement emerged in New York City and how it came to Mexico.
Pride Day is celebrated on June 28th, and LGBTIQ+ groups (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, and non-binary) usually march on that day or close to it. The origin of Gay Pride dates back to June 28, 1969, when the well-known Stonewall riots took place in New York. This event marked the beginning of social movements for homosexual rights.
During that time, both in the United States and other parts world, same-sex relationships were prohibited. Non-heterosexual couples couldn’t so much as go out in public, much less get married. Displays of same-sex affection were punished with fines and jail time. Even science considered homosexuality a mental disorder and supported conversion therapy, which in many cases included torture methods like castration, electroshock treatment, and lobotomies. So, LGBTQ+ groups began to create safe spaces for the community, in which people could support one other and show solidarity.
During the wee hours of June 28, 1969, the New York police raided one of these safe spaces: the Stonewall pub in Greenwich Village. Gay collectives responded with a series of demonstrations that led to violent incidents. Around 150 people were involved in the riots and some were arrested and brutally beaten. In the history of homosexual rights, this moment marks the beginning of the fight against the legal, police, and social system that persecuted the community.
In the 1960s, few venues were openly gay-friendly. That’s why the Stonewall pub was so popular. The regulars were gay and trans people, as well as drag queens and others from LGBTQ+ community. It became a space for political resistance. Raids on pubs like Stonewall were common at the time. In this particular case, the police lost control, and the community and its allies rebelled against this oppression.
The stand-off between the police and the residents of Greenwich Village lasted for several days, and in a matter of weeks, the community founded other safe spaces, where its members could meet freely without worrying about being arrested. As a result, protests became bigger and better organized. The Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activist Alliance, the first groups to demand respect and equal rights for sexually diverse beings from the government and society, were created.
The first Gay Pride marches to commemorate the riots took place in 1970 in New York and Los Angeles. Little by little, cities from all over the world started their own marches. In 2016, the US president of the time, Barack Obama, declared the Stonewall Inn a national monument.
The pub is the first national monument to commemorate this struggle.
In Mexico, the first marches with participation from LGBTQ+ groups were held in 1978, as a part of other political events. On July 28th of that year, the Homosexual Front for Revolutionary Action joined a demonstration commemorating the Cuban Revolution. October 2nd marked a decade since the Tlatelolco Massacre, around which other collectives had been formed.
The first official Pride march took place in 1979, but is actually credited to the year before. That’s why in 2020, we commemorated 42 years of Pride in Mexico. Over the decades, the parade has turned into a fun celebration of freedoms won, but we must not forget that fight against discrimination isn’t even close to being over.