Celebrating Pride Month: A Brief History of Pride
Updated: Jun 19, 2022
Happy Pride Month! Here at Pedacitos Blog, we strive for authenticity and inclusivity in all that we do. Part of our mission to connect people across the world is to recognize and create space for those of any background, identity, and sexuality. How do we do this? By sharing our stories. Today, we want to tell the story about Pride Month!
The origins of Pride Month date back to June 28th, 1969 in front of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City. That night, police officers stormed the bar and unlawfully arrested patrons, piling them into their police vehicles. Furious onlookers, and members of the gay community, decided to rise and protest the unfair police harassment. After successfully driving off the officers, the community continued protests the following nights. These are called the Stonewall Riots.
The riots became a symbol of resistance, encouraging organizers across the country to start their own protests, rallies, and marches to fight gay oppression. Then, on June 28th, 1970, New York City activists organized a protest which became the template for modern-day Pride celebrations. Now, Pride Month is celebrated in a variety of ways all across the world!
This month, we also recognize the 5-year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub Massacre. Read Pedacitos Blog Founder Michael's article about his connection to this event and experience being a part of the LGBTQ community.
Marsha P. Johnson
One of the most notable icons in the LGBTQ community and Pride history is Marsha P. Johnson – a black queer woman whose significant role in the Stonewall uprising led to a new phase of the LGBTQ movement in 1969. But her impact and story start before this notable event.
Marsha was born in 1945 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and grew up in a difficult Christian household. After she graduated high school, she moved to New York City in an attempt to find the freedom to express and create herself.
Struggling to make ends meet, Marsha experienced homelessness and used the Christopher Street nightlife to make ends meet. Eventually, she found joy in drag performances, designing her own performance costumes and becoming known as the “drag mother” for homeless LGBTQ youth. Her prominence in the drag community became the foundation for her notoriety during the Stonewall uprising and following events.
Marsha was fearless, bold, eccentric, and unafraid of being her truest, most authentic self. She often wore big, decorative hats and glamorous jewelry with her thrifted clothing. When people asked her what the “P” in her name stood for or wondered about her gender and sexuality, she would respond with “pay it no mind.”
"I was no one, nobody, from Nowheresville, until I became a drag queen." – Marsha P. Johnson.
An activist for LGBTQ rights and an advocate for black trans people, Marsha P. Johnson co-founded STAR, an organization dedicated to helping homeless transgender youth in New York City. She also co-founded the Gay Liberation Front which advocated for the sexual liberation of all people.
Unfortunately, Marsha met an untimely death at the age of 46 on July 6th, 1992. Her body was found in the Hudson River and the death was ruled a suicide. Her friends fought this ruling, claiming she was not suicidal and it was changed to undetermined. Her case was later reopened but it still remains unsolved.
Words aren’t enough to describe and express the significance of Marsha P. Johnson’s lasting legacy in the LGBTQ community. As the voices of these communities rise up, we must do our part to ensure Marsha’s message and life are remembered and included.
If you want to learn more about Marsha's life and legacy, we encourage you to check out these documentaries:
Pay It No Mind: Marsha P. Johnson (2012)
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017)
Happy Birthday, Marsha! (2017)