The first Pride was a protest

50 years ago, a marginalised community stood up against prejudice and fought back. Their bravery sent ripples across the world and kickstarted the modern Pride movement.

Today marks a major landmark in LGBT history – the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. If you’ve not heard of Stonewall before, here’s a quick recap.

In the 60s, the LGBT-welcoming bars of New York were regularly raided and shut down by the police who arrested patrons for ridiculous things like ‘wearing less than three gender-appropriate articles of clothing’.

On June 28 1969, the crowd at the Stonewall Inn had had enough and fought back. Legend has it that Marsha P. Johnson hefted one of the first bricks thrown (look her up – an incredible, heartbreaking life). A week of violent clashes against the NYPD galvanised the community and the uprising changed the police’s approach to LGBT people forever. The night of June 28 and its aftermath turbocharged the LGBT rights movement and changes were felt across the globe.

One year later, the anniversary of the riot was marked with America’s first ever Pride parades and half a century later, June is ‘Pride month’ in the States.

Fifty years on from the Stonewall riots, LGBT rights have moved forward so much that at Pride in Hull, we’re asked whether there’s even a need for Pride events in 2019. Spoiler: yes.

In February a same-sex family in Hull were sent a letter telling them to move, calling their relationship – and decision to raise a child – immoral. Because of crap like this,  a third of the LGBT+ community are scared to be out at work. There are campaigns to prevent our very existence being acknowledged in schools. We’re attacked in the streets and on public transport. Transphobic hate crime has skyrocketed by 81%.

So we still have work to do. Some information to share, some love to spread and some fights to fight. Over 150 Prides are happening in the UK this year – from burgeoning newcomers to behemoth events. They’re all important. But what does a Pride even look like in 2019?

Is it a parade? A proud spectacle showcasing the diversity of LGBT+ identities.

Is it a party? A celebration of how far we’ve come.

Or, like Stonewall, is it a protest? A rallying cry for fights that we have not yet won.

We think the sweet spot is a combination of the three. How about you?

But today, we reflect on the individuals at Stonewall that night. Their bravery, frustration and fury paved the way for five decades of progress. We’ve still got far to go, but without them, who knows where we’d be now?