Before Pride Month became comfortably situated in the month of June each year, before rainbow-colored floats sponsored by Mastercard breezed down Fifth Avenue, there were police raids on gay bars, and bricks hurled through windows. Contrary to what some brands would have you believe, the first Pride was not a parade; the first Pride was a riot.
The Stonewall uprising of 1969 was a series of demonstrations and violent skirmishes between young patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a club in New York's Greenwich Village, and the New York Police Department, which frequently attacked gay bars in a time when serving LGBTQ+ people was still illegal. It began on June 28, 1969, and lasted six days, serving as the catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world. It is the reason we celebrate Pride in June.
In keeping with its riotous tradition, and especially as demonstrators in major cities around the country gather to protest police brutality against the Black community and to mourn the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, among countless others, many have called upon LGBTQ+ leaders to shift the narrative during Pride Month and stand in solidarity with protesters.
And on Monday (June 1), many LGBTQ+ artists and celebrities answered that call. While pop star Miley Cyrus shared an image of Marsha P. Johnson, a Black trans woman and drag performer who was central to the early years of gay liberation, the rapper Mykki Blanco demanded that we do not "allow 'Pride' to shift the narrative. They want us to 'celebrate Pride' and stop protesting, stop organizing. Corporations want you to spend money and get drunk and forget about all we are fighting for."
See more responses from LGBTQ+ thought leaders below.