June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, reflect on how far it’s come, and consider what positive changes need to be made in the future.
Although Pride Month is typically associated with rainbows and cheerful celebrations of what it means to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community, the month’s history and why we celebrate it have quite different origins.
Remembering Pride Month’s history is an important component of this year’s celebration.
Not only does 2022 bring a return to large events after a few years of Covid-related restrictions, but it also marks the 50th anniversary of Pride in London (2 July), the 25th anniversary of Pride Edinburgh (25 June), and the 10th anniversary of Pride in Chester (13 - 14 August).
Here is everything you need to know about it.
What is Pride month?
Pride Month takes place throughout June in the UK and many other nations across the world.
The entire month is dedicated to honouring LGBTQ+ people and culture, as well as raising awareness about the communities’ ongoing challenges.
On one or two days each month, most cities organise dedicated Pride marches, but there are many other smaller activities to attend as well.
Pride Month is celebrated in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots.
These protests took place in the United States in 1969, and they inspired global change for LGBTQ+ rights.
New York police officers from the ‘Public Morals Division’ invaded the Stonewall Inn, a gay nightclub in New York City’s Greenwich Village, on 28 June 1969.
At a time when it was legal for police to arrest and hospitalise gay people on the spot, this was a typical occurrence.
On this night though, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn fought back against the police raid, fighting arrest against the police officers.
Police barricaded themselves inside the bar, and protesters led by black trans woman Martha P. Johnson took to the streets for the next five nights.
While this was not the first instance of LGBTQ+ activism, it was the most significant at the time, receiving worldwide media attention.
Since then, LGBTQ+ communities throughout the world have come together every year to commemorate the Stonewall riots and their lasting influence.
In the United States, the Stonewall Inn is now designated as a National Historic Landmark.
How is it being celebrated?
While many Pride events take place in June, there are a number of other marches and events throughout the year, including London Trans+ Pride on 9 July and UK Black Pride on 14 August.
Pride events had been growing in size before the pandemic, with some claiming it had lost its fundamental connotation of protest.
Tag Warner, CEO of Gay Times, says the original meaning of Pride has become blurred over the years.
“I don’t blame the excitement that came with that [the parties getting bigger and bigger],” he said. “Of course it’s exciting – it’s this thing that builds every year. But I think people massively lost focus on what we were all doing.”
He believes that Covid-19 offered many people a time to ponder about what’s important to them, and that we’ll see more protest spirit during this year’s Pride.
This year, he hopes that people will consider the political implications of Pride.
“What are our rights? What are the cultural societal challenges – not just from a legal perspective? How do we need to come together to understand what the priorities are, make noise about them, and then try and address them as a single voice?
Can I still celebrate Pride if I am not part of the LGBTQ+ community?
Yes, you can. And this “allyship” is encouraged.
But, allies should understand “the difference between being there to support and encourage, rather than being the centre of attention,” according to Warner.
“I think it’s great for straight allies to take a moment before anything that’s happening – whether it’s an event or the month itself – to say, ‘It’s alright this isn’t about me, but what I can do is use my energy to lift up and support someone else?’.”
Asking a younger friend or family member if they want you to accompany them to a Pride event so you can be someone they know and trust to support them is a great example of this.
Key Pride march dates in the UK:
- 4 June: Oxford Pride 2022
- 11 June: Blackpool Pride 2022
- 11 June: Portsmouth Pride 2022
- 11 June: Sunderland Pride 2022
- 18 June: Suffolk Pride 2022
- 18 June: York Pride 2022
- 25 June: Edinburgh Pride 2022
- 25 June: Glasgow Pride 2022
- 25 June: Salford Pride 2022
- 2 July: Fife Pride 2022
- 2 July: London Pride 2022
- 8 - 9 July: Bournemouth Pride 2022
- 9 July: Bradford Pride 2022
- 9 July: Bristol Pride 2022
- 9 July: Trans Pride London 2022
- 16 July: Brighton Trans Pride 2022
- 30 July: Belfast Pride 2022
- 30 July: Hull Pride 2022
- 30 July: Liverpool Pride 2022
- 30 July: Norwich Pride 2022
- 5 - 7 August: Brighton Pride 2022
- 6 August: Bolton Pride 2022
- 6 August: Doncaster Pride 2022
- 7 August: Leeds Pride 2022
- 14 August: UK Black Pride 2022
- 20 August: Peterborough Pride 2022
- 26 - 29 August: Manchester Pride 2022
- 27 - 28 August: Cardiff / Pride Cymru 2022
- 27 August: Southampton Pride 2022
- 24 - 25 September: Birmingham Pride 2022
The above is just a selection of the hundreds of Pride events taking place this year.
For a more comprehensive list, including links to all relevant websites, head to gayprideshop.co.uk/pages/uk-gay-pride-calendar-2022