HONOLULU (KHON2) — Pride. The celebration has spread across the globe as people feel safe, supported and accepted enough to follow their hearts.
It defines entire communities and provides a way of indulging in the acceptance of people on their terms.
Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You
The history of 2SLGBTQ+ peoples spread across history, cultures, politics and religions. From the Greek poet, Sappho, to modern-era political leaders like Eleanor Roosevelt post-modern leaders like Pete Buttigieg, queer people have made indelible marks on all spectrums of societal existence.
But, beginning in the 1960s, queer peoples began to stand up and say NO to the abuse, murder, humiliation and marginalization that they had been and were experiencing.
Thus far, we have examined the Compton Cafeteria Riots which was the very first protest against the abuse, harassment and murder of the queer community. It was led by transgender and non-binary people who decided enough is enough.
We also looked at the Stonewall Inn Riots that sparked a national response to the abuse, harassment and murder of queer people. This, too, was led by transgender and non-binary people.
But what did these two moments lead to? The answer to that is Pride.
The very first Pride parade that ever took place occurred in New York in 1970. This was four years after Compton and one year after Stonewall.
One year later, when the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots came around, activists throughout New York City began a march through the streets of Manhattan. It was meant to commemorate the uprising.
The march was organized by the Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations (ERCHO) and the Christopher Street Liberation Day Umbrella Committee and was named the Christopher Street Liberation Day March. This march is considered to be the U.S.’s very first gay Pride parade. There was an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 participants in the march. It stretched for 51 blocks from Greenwich Village to Central Park.
In unity with NYC, marches and parades popped up that June in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Although the Compton Cafeteria Riots took place first, there was something about the Stonewall Inn Riots that fully mobilized gay and queer communities en masse.
Martin Duberman is one of the observers of the things that happened from the riots to the first Pride parade. His historical account of Stonewall cites a chorus of voices of those people that were there that night.
One of the persons involved that Duberman writes about was activist Sylvia Rivera. Duberman point to the death of Judy Garland — whose body lay in state on the afternoon of June 27 on the Upper East Side — as being the precipitating emotional factor that pushed Rivera, who was transgender, to the brink.
Of course, the story of Stormie DeLarverie features prominently in Duberman’s recounting of the six days of rioting. Another transgender woman who propelled the queer community to stand up to tyranny was Marsh P. Johnson.
According to activist Craig Schoonmaker, “I authored the word ‘pride’ for gay pride … [my] first thought was ‘Gay Power.’ I didn’t like that, so proposed gay pride. There’s very little chance for people in the world to have power. People did not have power then; even now, we only have some. But anyone can have pride in themselves, and that would make them happier as people, and produce the movement likely to produce change.”
The original parade was conceptualized at the November 1969 E.R.C.H.O Conference; the 13 voting organizations present adopted the following resolution:
“We propose that a demonstration be held annually on the last Saturday in June in New York City to commemorate the 1969 spontaneous demonstrations on Christopher Street and this demonstration be called CHRISTOPHER STREET LIBERATION DAY.”
As time passed and more and more people began to be able to ‘come out of the closet’, the Christopher Street Liberation Day March became simply known as Gay Pride.
Today, there are thousands of Pride parades and festivals across the globe. You can click here for a calendar.
While the world does celebrate Pride in June as a constant reminder of how far the queer community come, Honolulu has chosen to celebrate in the month of October.
Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8
This is because of tourism. During the summer months, it is much more difficult for locals to participate in a parade and festival during peak tourism season. Hence, the should season was chosen in order to provide more access.