What is Pride?

June is Pride Month, when the world’s LGBT communities come together and celebrate the freedom to be themselves.

Gay pride or LGBT pride became the promotion of the self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people as a social group. Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is the predominant outlook that bolsters most LGBT rights movements.

Pride gatherings are rooted in the arduous history of minority groups who have struggled for decades to overcome prejudice and be accepted for who they are.

What are the origins of Pride?

Stonewall Inn The Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, New York City. © Lee Snider/Dreamstime.com

The origins of LGBT Pride month are in the famous Stonewall Riots, which occurred on June 28, 1969, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. The Stonewall Inn was a Mafia-owned bar in the Village that was one of the few establishments to openly welcome gay people, especially some of the more marginalized members of the gay community, including drag queens, homeless youth, and male prostitutes.

When police raided the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, the street erupted into violent protests. There were reports of stilettos, bottles, coins, bricks and debris thrown. The altercation spilled into the streets and more LGBT street youth joined
in the uprising. As word spread, more LGBT people from surrounding neighborhoods joined the riot. The rebellion, which
lasted six days, marked the beginning of the modern LGBT rights movement.

The Stonewall riots, as they came to be known, marked a major turning point in the modern LGBT civil rights movement
in the United States and around the world. The event was significant from the day it occurred – creating changes in LGBT
people’s lives immediately. On the one-week anniversary, there was a gay march. On the first year anniversary, the first
gay pride march was held in New York City, as well as in other cities. The events of Stonewall opened the door for millions of LGBT Americans to begin pressing for full and equal civil rights. Indeed, within a few short years of Stonewall,
thousands of gay and lesbian civil rights organizations had sprung up all across America.



Where did the name Pride come from?

It’s credited to Brenda Howard, a bisexual New York activist nicknamed the “Mother of Pride,” who organized the first Pride parade to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.


What’s the origin of the rainbow flag?

In 1978, artist and designer Gilbert Baker was commissioned by San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk — one of the first openly gay elected officials in the US — to make a flag for the city’s upcoming Pride celebrations. Baker, a prominent gay rights activist, gave a nod to the stripes of the American flag but drew inspiration from the rainbow to reflect the many groups within the gay community.

Photo: Martin Fjellanger

What do the colours in the flag represent?

The first flag had eight colors, however the traditional and still most common variant consists of six stripes: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. The flag is typically flown horizontally, with the red stripe on top, as it would be in a natural rainbow.

Each colour has a particular meaning, each of which have resonated with the community for decades

  • Red = Life
  • Orange = Healing
  • Yellow = Sunlight
  • Green = Nature
  • Blue = Serenity
  • Purple = Spirit






People march down 5th Avenue in Manhattan during the 2019 World Pride NYC and Stonewall 50th LGBTQ Pride parade in New York, U.S., June 30, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson


Which Month is Pride Month in South Africa and why?

In South Africa, October is when the LGTBQIA+ community celebrates Pride Month as the first South African pride parade was held in Johannesburg on 13 October 1990.