Pride Month officially began on June 1, and although the entire month is dedicated to celebrating the queer community in all its glory, there are certain historically significant dates that are especially important to learn about and commemorate.
To fully celebrate and honor the queer community in June 2020, here's what a few notable Pride Month dates represent in history.
June 12 — Pulse Day of Remembrance
Every year on June 12, we honor the 49 victims who lost their lives during the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub back in 2016. Pulse was a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., that was senselessly attacked by a mass shooter. Survivors and allies, as well as families and friends of victims, gather for a night of remembrance to light candles and ring bells. However, the event is being held virtually this year to abide by social distancing guidelines, according to Click Orlando.
June 25 — The rainbow flag was born
Gilbert Baker is a major historical figure within LGBTQIA history. He was a Kansas-born artist and activist who created the first rainbow Pride flag ever. The iconic rainbow flag we know and love today first debuted at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade almost 40 years ago on June 25, 1978 thanks to Gilbert's inspiring artistic vision.
June 26 — Gay marriage was legalized
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court finally made gay marriage legal in all 50 states, according to TIME, and two years earlier on June 26, 2013, the Defense of Marriage Act was officially abolished, making same-sex couples able to access federal benefits. Now, allies and members of the queer community alike aim to make June 26 a national holiday to honor the change and progression that was made for the LGBTQIA community on that day in history.
June 28 — Stonewall Riots & First Official Pride Parade
The Stonewall Riots, which essentially kicked off the gay rights movement, are dated back to the early morning of June 28, 1969, according to The History Channel. NYPD officers raided a Greenwich Village gay club called the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street, which inspired riots from employees, neighbors, patrons, and allies. For the next several days, protestors were met with violence from police officers, and thus, the gay rights movement began.
The first official Pride parade took place exactly one year later, but it wasn't the colorful, glittery event it is today. Protestors feared violent encounters with authorities, and according to the New York Times, it was one of the first open queer movements, unlike previous silent vigils and "polite pickets."
Queer rights should be celebrated each and every day of June (and every day of the year), but a handful of dates in June are especially historically significant. Recognizing and celebrating each of them is extremely important to fully honor the LGBTQIA community.