The First Pride Was A Riot, And These LGBTQ+ Artists Are Honoring That

Before Pride Month became comfortably situated in the month of June each year,  before rainbow-colored floats sponsored by Mastercard breezed down Fifth Avenue, there were police raids on gay bars, and bricks hurled through windows. Contrary to what some brands would have you believe, the first Pride was not a parade; the first Pride was a riot.

The Stonewall uprising of 1969 was a series of demonstrations and violent skirmishes between young patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a club in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the New York Police Department, which frequently attacked gay bars in a time when serving LGBTQ+ was illegal. It began on June 28, 1969, and lasted six days, serving as the catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world. It is the reason we celebrate Pride in June.

In keeping with its riotous tradition, and especially as demonstrators in major cities around the country gather to protest police brutality against the Black community and to mourn the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, among countless others, many have called upon LGBTQ+ leaders to shift the narrative during Pride Month and stand in solidarity with protesters.

And on Monday (June 1), many LGBTQ+ artists and celebrities answered that call. While pop star Miley Cyrus shared an image of Marsha P. Johnson, a Black trans woman and drag performer who was central to the Gay Liberation Front, the rapper Mykki Blanco demanded that we “Don’t allow ‘Pride’ to shift the narrative. They want us to ‘celebrate Pride’ and stop protesting, stop organizing. Corporations want you to spend money and get drunk and forget about all we are fighting for.”

See more responses from LGBTQ+ thought leaders below.


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Pride month is here. #MarshaPJohnson

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June is a time for Pride. Please don’t comment about how you prefer ur Pride flag with six colors. Please recognize that your Pride means nothing and would be nonexistent without Black lives. Please don’t be a corporation trying to include me in projects while you’ve remained silent on social media this past week and have not vocally supported your Black customers. Please listen to you Black LGBTQIA+ members and do only as they say. Do not bother them with questions though; the time has passed for white willful ignorance and stupidity. Use your resources. Support Pride by joining a protest if you’re healthy, donate to BLM funds/bailouts of protestors/etc. if you can (especially if you are a brand or public figure that continues to monetize elements of Black culture to pad your wallet) and if you are a non-Black member or ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, take this month (and beyond) and focus your energy on our Black members who began the fight for you and who have desperately needed our support for countless years before this.

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