The Origin of the Pride Parade Tradition

The Origin of the Pride Parade Tradition
Pride Parade

Over the past 44 years annual pride parade has become traditional in lots of cities all over the world.

Over the past 44 years annual pride parade has become traditional in lots of cities all over the world.

It has developed from radical marches into festive activities with elaborate floats and famous people who participate in it, such as notable politicians and celebrated entertainers. In the majority of cities, the pride parades go as a part of a Pride Parade week celebration. Usually they include some events celebrating the diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities such as movie festivals, dance parties, Pride Idol and “best dressed in drag” competitions.

The annual festivities have become the main way of celebrating LGBT diversity and history. Thus, the Pride Parades display the extension of LGBT activism. This was historically mentioned, that the queer community has been invisible and unable to be proud of their identity. The aim of the pride parades is to make their presence noted in a life-asserting and positive way, and to stress that LGBT people have the equal rights and privileges as any other.
The History
Till 1969, lesbian and gay people were widely treated as social perverts because of the fear and misinformation of the society. Members of the LGBT community had to hide their existence and to deny their queer nature, while there was the risk to lose everything they had. Mayor Robert F. Wagner was the one who ran a crackdown on gay bars in the Greenwich Village district (NYC) in the 1960s. It was a breaking point for the increasingly pursued LGBT community.


The Stonewall riots of 1969 were the source of which gay Pride Parade began. On June, 28 the police officers raided a gay bar located on Christopher St. in Manhattan. As patrons rejected to submit to a gender examination, the police aimed to arrest all of the 200 visitors of the bar. The situation quickly extended to a full riot, when hundreds of local gay guys fought against the police forces. This event is widely cited by the LGBT community as the start of the gay rights movement.

First Parade

The Stonewall riot was the point demonstrating to LGBT activists the necessity of their rights assertion publicly, by means of demonstrations and marches. On June 28, 1970 the first gay rights march took place as a commemoration of the Stonewall anniversary. Groups of activists marched in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and San Francisco, supporting their cause by terms like “Gay Freedom” and “Gay Liberation”. The demonstrations were focused on increasing perception among the LGBT members.

Some of the participants in the parade were cautious about the possible public reaction to gay guys, girls and drag queens marching in solidarity through the Manhattan streets. Everyone knew that homophobia was still widespread among the people. Those days it was a redoubted idea to walk in daylight with a sign saying, “I am gay”, because nobody was ready to do that. The “Stonewall Uprising” documentary shows the fear and dismay of the first Pride Parade participants.

John O’Brien says nothing had been planned for the rally in Central Park, while the group couldn’t rely upon making it the whole way. But as the original demonstrators marched uptown from Christopher Street, hundreds or even thousands of people joined them on that way. The crowd enjoyed its walk from Greenwich Village into uptown Manhattan and Central Park, carrying gay pride banners and signs like “Say it clear, say it loud. Gay is good, gay is proud”.

AIDS Affair

The unbelievable success of the “Christopher Street” march activated the local organizations throughout the USA and all over the world. By the 1980s, the largest American cities provided their own parades. Outside the USA, pride parades took place in Tel Aviv, Moscow and Nepal. The parades got a new tone with the detection of AIDS in the 1980s. The LGBT members looked for acceptance and understanding from the non-gay society, that required a more apologetic tone to the demonstrations. “Gay Liberation” phrases were replaced by “Gay Pride” or just “Pride” in an attempt to reach out to others.

The awareness of gay issues still grows thanks to gay pride parades. They work for acceptance of queer people in traditionally homophobic society. Africa held its first pride parade in 1990 and India in 1999. In 2000, Bill Clinton proclaimed June to be “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month” in America, thus showing wide acceptance of gay pride parades. Several years ago, President Barack Obama in his Presidential proclamation officially defined June as LGBT Pride Month. The increasing number of pride parades indicate the spreading of the social acceptance of LGBT members and their culture. The community rights activist Virginia Apuzzo says in documentary “Every year, in every pride parade, Stonewall lives”.

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  1. Cutie
    Cutie 17 September, 2014, 13:09

    dream to watch this parade sometime maybe even in my country

    Reply this comment
  2. tigress
    tigress 17 September, 2014, 11:57

    Doubtful history as for me. For gay lovers only.
    But I like the rainbow)

    Reply this comment

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