Pride month 2023: when is it in the UK, why is it celebrated in June - and all the key Pride march dates
2023 marks the 51st anniversary of Pride in London
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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.
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 8 July and UK Black Pride, which at the time of writing does not have a set date for 2023 festivities.
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 the Pride celebration of the next few years as a result.
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:
- 17 June: Salford Pride 2023
- 17 - 18 June: Cardiff Pride 2023
- 24 June: Edinburgh Pride 2023
- 24 June: Peterborough Pride 2023
- 1 July: Fife Pride 2023
- 1 July: London Pride 2023
- 7 - 8 July: Bournemouth Pride 2023
- 8 July: Bradford Pride 2023
- 8 July: Bristol Pride 2023
- 8 July: Sunderland Pride 2023
- 8 July: Trans Pride 2023
- 15 July: Glasgow Pride 2023
- 15 July: Suffolk Pride 2023
- 15 July: Brighton Trans Pride 2023
- 28 - 30 July: Bolton Pride 2023
- 29 July: Belfast Pride 2023
- 29 July: Hull Pride 2023
- 29 July: Norwich Pride
- 30 July: Liverpool Pride 2023
- 5 - 6 August: Brighton Pride 2023
- 6 August: Leeds Pride 2023
- 16 August: Doncaster Pride 2023
- 25 - 28 August: Manchester Pride 2023
- 26 August: Southampton Pride 2023
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-2023