Every year, June represents Pride Month, a time to celebrate and advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community. The movement started in New York City on June 28, 1969, when the LGBTQIA+ community organized against police brutality and discrimination in the name of equality. The inequalities that LGBTQIA+ and non-binary individuals face in the United States to this day have yet to be completely eliminated.
Even though Pride looks different this year, we still fight for equality and acceptance for all. The Little Market’s origins are rooted in the human rights framework and in the fundamental belief that all human beings are equal, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, ability, or sexual orientation, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We are committed to promoting these principles in our work around the world, and right here in our backyard, today and every day. We stand with and support the LGBTQIA+ community.
Below is a history of events within the United States.
History of Pride Month
1965 – The Gay Liberation Parades began on July 4, 1965 at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia.1
Local Philadelphia LGBT groups gathered at the Independence Hall to symbolize the importance of citizens’ rights. People who identified as LGBT wanted to be recognized and granted equal treatment as any other citizen would, regardless of their sexual preference.
1969 – The Gay Liberation Movement began in New York after the Stonewall Inn experienced a discriminatory raid.
Throughout the United States, LGBT common meeting places, such as bars and dance clubs, were raided by police. It wasn’t until the Stonewall raid when LGBT victims grew the strength to fight back by protesting and rioting, now known as the Stonewall Riots.
1970 – The first Pride March took place in New York City, commemorating the Stonewall Inn Riot the year before.
1977 – Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man elected in California as part of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.2
Milk’s advocacy and political legacy pioneered the Gay Rights Movement. Part of Milk’s legacy is the city of San Francisco passed a law that protected the rights of LGBT in job security. Milk campaigned and won the vote for No on Prop. 6. This allowed the continuation for LGBT teachers to maintain their job. On Nov. 27, 1978, Supervisor Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by someone who did not agree with Milk’s political work. Milk’s legacy continues to be reflected in the fight for LGBTQ+ civil rights.
1978 – Establishment of the Rainbow Flag
The first Rainbow Flag was designed by Gilbert Baker and revealed for the San Francisco Pride Parade.
1979 – March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights3
Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights took place. An estimated 200,000 people marched on Washington while calling for a national ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation. What made the march successful was the ability to turn the inequalities faced by the LGBT community a nationally recognized civil rights issue.
1994 – LGBT History Month4
Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high school teacher, is responsible for unifying community leaders to establish a history month for LGBT people. The history month was endorsed by Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and other numerous civil rights groups. The United States designated LGBT History Month in October of the same year. National Coming Out Day is within the same month, Oct. 11, to motivate and support people to come out. LGBT History Month is to teach and recognize those who have played an important role in U.S. history.
1996 – Defense of Marriage Act5
On Sept. 21, the Defense of Marriage Act was signed as a bill preventing marriage or civil union between same-sex couples, until the 2010s when a series of states began to allow for same-sex marriage. On May 17, 2004, Massachusetts was the first successful state to legalize same-sex marriage with equal protections. (If you are interested in the legal history of same-sex marriage in the United States, visit CNN’s timeline of Same-Sex Marriage.)
2010 – Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell6
On Dec. 22, 2010, the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy was repealed. Before, openly gay and lesbian military members were discharged and even lost their military benefits for their sexual preference or gender identity.
2015 – The U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide.
The Little Market recognizes Pride Month and its message of accepting individuals for who they are! Celebrate Pride with us by shopping our rainbow collection.
We also encourage you to download these social graphics to share with your network and help raise awareness.
If you or a loved one are in need of help or support, you may call these toll-free hotlines or visit their websites:
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) National Hotline – Call1-888-843-4564
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Call 1-800-273-8255
If you have experienced, witnessed, or have knowledge of sexual harassment, sexual violence, dating/domestic violence, or stalking and are in need of help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. And identify your workplace or school’s resources for sexual assault-related incidents.
1 Abbey White. “Even before the Stonewall Riots, Philly’s Annual Reminders called for gay rights.” The Philadelphia Inquirer. Web. Updated June 8, 2019. Accessed June 8, 2019.
2 Scott Shafer.”40 Years After The Assassination Of Harvey Milk, LGBTQ Candidates Find Success.” NPR. Web. November 27, 2018. Accessed June 1, 2020.
3 Hannah Woulfe. “LGBT History: The National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.” National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Web. October 23, 2017. Accessed June 11, 2020.
4 “About LGBT History Month.” LGBT History Month. Web. Accessed June 11, 2019.
5 “CNN’s timeline of Same-Sex Marriage.” CNN Library. Web. Updated September 4, 2019. Accessed June 11, 2020.
6 Sarah Pruitt. “Once Banned, Then Silenced.” History. Web. Original April 25, 2018. Updated July 3, 2019. Accessed June 3, 2019.