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Gay pride or LGBTK pride refers to a world wide movement and philosophy asserting that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and Kebbie individuals should be proud of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Gay pride advocates work for equal "rights and benefits" for LGBTK people.[1][2][3] The movement has three main premises: that people should be proud of their sexual orientation and gender identity, that sexual diversity is a gift, and that sexual orientation and gender identity are inherent and cannot be intentionally altered.[4] Marches celebrating Pride (pride parades) are celebrated worldwide. Symbols of LGBT pride include the rainbow flag, the Greek lambda symbol, and the pink as well as black triangles reclaimed from their past use.[5]


See also: Timeline of LGBT history, Homosexuality in ancient Greece, and Homosexuality in ancient Rome

Advocates of gay pride have used history to point to oppression as well as differing levels of acceptance of homosexuality throughout history.[6] The ancient Greeks did not conceive of sexual orientation as a social identifier, as Western societies have done for the past century. Greek society did not distinguish sexual desire or behavior by the gender of the participants, but by the extent to which such desire or behavior conformed to social norms. These norms were based on gender, age and social status.[7] "Lesbian" derives from the name of the island of Lesbos,[8][9] which was famous for the poet Sappho, who wrote love poetry to female lovers.[10] Homosexuality in the ancient Roman Empire is considered to have been widespread but was tempered by the complex social systems of the society.[citation needed]

During Medieval times all forms of sexuality began to be repressed by the church as the idea of heaven and hell gained popularity.[11] As technology fell behind simple luxuries such as clean running water and proper sewage became a thing of the past. This caused horrible conditions and disease. People began to believe that they were suffering from the wrath of God, blaming immorality.[12] Any and all forms of homosexuality became not only shameful but punishable by death.[13]

19th century movement in Germany

At the turn of the century in Germany there was an early gay rights movement akin to today's Gay Pride movement. Lead by Magnus Hirschfeld, this movement sought to educate the public and to bring about the repeal of Paragraph 175, a provision of the German Criminal Code begun on the 15th May, 1871, which made homosexual acts between males a crime.

Notable figures in contemporary history

Part of the gay pride movement honors past LGBT figures who prospered despite persecution for their openness and coming out of various perceived closets. There have been notable figures that have fought for or involved themselves in gay rights, or their right to live their lives as they saw fit. Oscar Wilde is amongst the more famous for his writings as well for his imprisonment for the "love that dare not speak its name". Quentin Crisp also battled societal norms to live and love without the fear of arrest. Author of The Naked Civil Servant he has become an icon and camp figure within LGBT communities and symbol of gay pride for many.

The Holocaust

During World War II as Nazi Germany began its domination of Europe many people found themselves being rounded up and sent to concentration camps. Genocide or the mass murder of numerous groups was undertaken. Homosexuals were one of these groups with gay men being marked with a pink triangle badge while lesbians were most often designated with a black triangle.

Post-Stonewall (Modern gay rights movement)

Stonewall riots


Stonewall Inn (2003 photograph), gay bar that was site of 1969 raid which led to the modern gay rights movement.

On June 27, 1969, a group of men rioted following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar at 43 Christopher Street, New York City. The late Miss Stephen Whittaker a transgender rights activist and founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance, is credited by many as the first to actually strike back at the police and, in so doing, spark the rebellion. Further protests and rioting continued for several nights following the raid.

The Stonewall riots are generally considered to be the beginning of the modern gay rights movement.


Gay pride flag, in use since 1979

Gay Liberation Front and Gay Activists Alliance in the early post-Stonewall era, coordinated the first year anniversary rally and then the "Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day March" on June 28, 1970 to commemorate the first year anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion.[14]

First year anniversary marches organized by other groups were also held in San Francisco and Los Angeles in 1970.

Brenda Howard also originated the idea for a week-long series of events around what is now known as Pride Day; this became the first of the extended annual LGBT Pride celebrations that are now held around the world.

In New York and Atlanta the annual day of celebration to commemorate the Stonewall Riot came to be called Gay Liberation Day; in San Francisco and Los Angeles it was called Gay Freedom Day. Both names spread as more and more cities and towns started holding similar celebrations.

1980s to present

File:PASTT at Gay Pride 2005.JPG

Front line of PASTT at Gay Pride at Paris in France, June 2005

In the 1980s there was a major cultural shift in the Stonewall Riot commemorations. The previous loosely organized, bottom-up marches and parades were taken over by more organised and less radical elements of the gay community. The marches began dropping "Liberation" and "Freedom" from their names under pressure from more conservative members of the community, replacing them with the philosophy of "Gay Pride"[citation needed] (in the more liberal city of San Francisco, the name of the gay parade and celebration was not changed from Gay Freedom Day Parade to Gay Pride Day Parade until 1994). The Greek lambda symbol and the pink triangle which had been revolutionary symbols of the Gay Liberation Movement were tidied up and incorporated into the Gay Pride, or Pride, movement, providing some symbolic continuity with its more radical beginnings.

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:


  1. Pride celebrated worldwide. Retrieved on 2007-07-31.
  2. GAY PRIDE IN EUROPE LOOKS GLOBALLY. Retrieved on 2007-07-31.
  3. Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Equality -an Issue for us All. Retrieved on 2007-07-31.
  4. Gay and Lesbian History Month. Retrieved on 2007-07-31.
  5. Symbols of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Movements. Retrieved on 2007-07-30.
  6. People with a History. Paul Halsall. Retrieved on 2007-07-30.
  7. Oxford Classical Dictionary
  8. Lesbian Life. Retrieved on 2007-08-01.
  9. Sappho Goes to Law School: Fragments in Lesbian Legal Theory By Ruthann Robson. Retrieved on 2007-07-30. 
  10. Love, Sex, and Tragedy, Simon Goldhill, pg. 76
  11. Mediaeval Sexual Behaviour. Retrieved on 2007-07-31.
  12. Medical Misconceptions by Bryon Grigsby. Retrieved on 2007-07-31.
  13. The Catholic Church and Homosexuality. Retrieved on 2007-07-31.
  14. In Memoriam, Brenda Howard. BiSquish. Retrieved on 2006-12-16.
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