The History of Pride Month: Celebrating LGBTQ+ Resilience and Activism

LGBTQ+ Pride Month is a vibrant celebration that honors the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. It’s a time to commemorate their joys, accomplishments, and resilience. Let’s delve into the origins of this important month.

Stonewall Riots: The Catalyst

The roots of Pride Month trace back to the Stonewall riots, a pivotal moment in LGBTQ+ history. On June 28, 1969, in New York City’s Greenwich Village, the Stonewall Inn—a mafia-run gay bar—became the epicenter of resistance. When police raided the bar, patrons decided to fight back. The ensuing multiday riots marked the birth of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement1.

The First Pride March

Exactly one year later, on June 28, 1970, the first Pride march took place to commemorate Stonewall. These initial one-day celebrations eventually evolved into a full month of LGBTQ+ pride. The term “Pride Month” was first mentioned in 1972, and it gained official recognition in 1999 when President Bill Clinton proclaimed June as Pride Month12.

Why is Pride Month in June?

June holds special significance because it marks the anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. It’s a time to honor the courage of those who stood up against discrimination and violence. As awareness grew, what was once Gay Pride Day expanded into the month-long celebration we know today3.

A large billboard is pinned to a brick wall with a pictured of a rainbow with the words 'love is love' written above it.

When is Pride Month Celebrated in Aotearoa New Zealand?

When looking at New Zealand's LGBTQ+ history, the first public Pride event was a protest in June nearly 50 years ago. The days, weeks and months different cities choose to celebrate Pride in New Zealand has more to do with what best serves their seperate LGBTQ+ communities based on need. Other considerations on timing is weather, and not competing with other events. For example, February is Auckland's Pride Month, but Dunedin celebrates in March.

To check out when pride month is celebrated in your local community in NZ check out the Rainbow Calendar.

Celebrating Progress and Advocacy

Pride Month isn’t just about parades and parties; it’s also a platform for advocacy. While celebrating progress, it reminds us of the challenges still faced by the LGBTQ+ community. From marriage equality to anti-discrimination laws, Pride Month continues to be a powerful force for change.

Pride Month is a beautiful blend of celebration, activism, and remembrance—a testament to the resilience and strength of LGBTQ+ individuals worldwide. Let’s continue to honor their legacy and work toward a more inclusive future. 🌈🏳️‍🌈


This article was compiled by our resident expert and scientist, Ami Reid, CEO of The Quiet Achiever. The Quiet Achiever is New Zealand's only women owned and operated sexual wellness store that sells only 100% body-safe toys and tools to women and couples. You can shop their products or learn more here or by following the link below:

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