Porto will be hosting the 14th Gay Pride on the 6th of July 2019 and of course we will tell you all about it, but what is the gay pride? Where is it coming from ? Together, let’s go back to the origins and its symbols of this international event !
The Gay Pride: Its origins, Stonewall Riots
A photograph of the Stonewall Inn after the events of June 28, 1969 – Author: Diana Davies, copyright owned by New York Public Library
This period of the year sees a lot of countries of the world celebrating their gay pride. A moment for a lof of people from the LGBTQ+ community to go out in the streets and claim their rights for equality. But how and where did it all started?
During the 60’s, police raids were a routine on gay bars as the gay americans would face a anti-gay legal system. As the time went on, the LGBT community slowly started to be more marginal towards the government.
It took a major turn in the night of the 27th to the 28th of June 1969. That night, a police raid was sent to the Stonewall Inn. This place was a gay bar where the most marginalized people in the gay community would hang out: effeminate young men, hustlers, transgender people, transvestites and homeless youth.
When the Police arrived, the clients of the bar started to protest against the Police which quickly lost control of their raid. Over the next days, the tensions kept growing up in between the gay residents of the Greenwich Village and the New York City police . The riots kept going on at night and for a couple of days after.
1969 - 2019: 50th anniversary
The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots was commemorated by the Stonewall 50 – WorldPride NYC 2019. Last June, on the 6th, New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill rendered a formal apology on behalf of the New York Police Department for the role of its officers in the events at Stonewall Inn in 1969.
The first Gay Prides
The first gay pride goes back to 1970, the 27th of June. The march was organized to start in Washington Square Park and would finish at the Chicago Water Tower. However, a lot of people decided to take the direction of the Civic Center Plaza (known as Richard J. Daley Plaza back then).
The 27th of June was not a random date. In fact, the Stonewall events started on the last saturday of the month of June the year before. The Chicago Gay Liberation, the organizers of the march, wanted to get as much attention as possible from the Michigan Avenue shoppers.
The following day, on the 28th of June 1970, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco would host their first Gay Pride. Also, other cities had similar marches happening on that same day.
Nowadays, the LGBTQ+ Pride are hosted throughout the world around the end of the month of June in order to remember and commemorate what happened during the Stonewall riots.
Though a lot of steps forward have been made in those last decades in favor to the LGBTQ+ community, a lot of discriminations, and homophobic attacks are still happening in the world, and for sure a lot still has to be done.
The Pink Triangle, the symbol of shame
First, and to understand correctly where the rainbow flag comes from, we have to talk about the Pink Triangle. Since the Second World War, the pink triangle was first a symbol of shame. In fact, every prisoner from the Nazi concentration camps, were tattooed on their chest to identify why they would be detained. The pink triangle was tattooed on the chest of prisoners “classified” as homosexual. Furthermore, it was also assigned to sexual offenders. By this, understand: pedophiles and rapists.
In 1972, in the book “The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War Against Homosexuals”, the author, Richard Plant estimates roughly in between 50 000 and 63 000 people arrested for homosexuality in between 1933 and 1944.
According to Schlagdenhauffen 2011 (cf. graphics below), the number of convicted people seems a bit less than what Plant had in mind in 1972, however, this does not change the important and dramatic number of people convicted. Most of them passed away in the concentration camps. However and though World War II ended, the social persecution of homosexuals went on following the rule of the Paragraph 175 of the German Criminal Code, and this until… 1994!
Pink Triangle aka Symbol of Shame for many years
the pink triangle over time
Later in the 70’s, the newly active European and North American gay liberation advocates started to use this symbol for people to realize the real meaning of it and its use during the Nazi Germany. The years after, some documentaries and personalities used this symbol as well.
The meaning of this pink triangle slowly changed over the years to end up being a symbol during the 80’s. Besides being a symbol of memorial to past victims, it is also a positive symbol of both self and community identity. It represented the gay and lesbian identity and a lot of organizations and businesses integrated it in their logo.
Though this symbol has been used later by ACT UP, the meaning switched to a more militant meaning and still exists somehow nowadays, it has been slowly replaced by the rainbow flag from 1978.
The origins of the rainbow flag
It all starts in 1978 when Gilbert Baker creates the well-known “Rainbow Flag”, which marks the beginning of a new identity for the LGBTQ+ community.
A year earlier, Gilbert’s friends Artie and Harvey Milk were trying to convince him to create a new symbol for what Artie would call, “the dawn of a new gay consciousness and freedom.”
As he was thinking of what it could be, Gilbert analysed a various number of flag who were flying on government buildings.
Soon enough, he came to the conclusion that a lot of these flags were created after a riot, revolution or rebellion. The American and French flag being the perfect example. After the Stonewall riots from 1969, it was clear that the LGBT movement needed a flag to proclaim its own idea of power.
One evening, Gilbert went out with another friend, Cleve, at the Winterland Ballroom. The atmosphere of the party was awesome, and in his memoir, Gilbert says that everyone was in a “swirl of color and light. It was like a rainbow.”
From that moment on, their was no doubts on what flag he would create, which would be a rainbow flag.
To him, this choice seemed to be necessary, conscious and natural. Long ago, the rainbow was a symbol of hope and appeared in many beliefs and histories in the world and Gilbert describes it as a “modern alternative to the pink triangle.” It would also be a way for the rioters fighting for freedom in 1969, to have their own symbol of liberation.
The New Symbol of the LGBTQ+ community
The most common version of the flag is the six stripes variant including the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Today, the rainbow flag color are recognized as a show of LGBTQ+ identity and solidarity. The success of the flag has replaced most of the other LGBTQ+ symbols, including the Pink Triangle.
The Meaning behind the colors
The rainbow flag over time
Over time, the flag has evolved. He lost some stripes, welcomed new colors but his significance remains intact.
the Pride family flag
Pride Family Flags are variations of the rainbow flag featuring its 6 traditional colors and an element of a flag of a country or region of the world. It also symbolizes how far the LGBTQ+ community has come now that people from the LGBTQ+ community is more visible and accepted in society.
In 2010, Cape Town in South Africa adopts this version designed by Eugene Brockman who said: ‘I truly believe we (the GLBT community) put the dazzle into our Rainbow nation and this flag is a symbol of just that…look at all these costumes, this event, even Cape Town at large. It is a testimony that we as the Gay community have a lot to offer in skills, talent, inspiration, business (millions in PINK MONEY) and life’.
The version of the flag was unveiled at the Houston, Texas parade in 2007 and is the work of Steven Tesney and Grant Caplan. The flag was also featured in the local magazine, OutSmart Magazine, for the Pride edition of 2007.
the Gay Pride in Porto
As mentionned in our article from last year, the pride in Porto is organized by people from different associations and political organizations of the “Marcha Orgulho LGBT+”. Year after year the event is getting bigger and attracts more and more attention.
On the 6th of July 2019, the march will start at 3pm from the Praça da Repùblica in Porto and will go on to viaduto Gonçalo Cristovão, Rua Santa Catarina, Rua Passos Manuel, Avenida dos Aliados, and Trindade to finish at its starting point, Praça da Repùblica.
After the this, at 6.30pm, you can attend “O Arraial Mais Orgulhoso do Porto” (popular gathering of people) at Praça da Repùblica. Besides the music, the concerts and other shows, it will also present the work of the different organizations and associations.
The event will go on with the party held from 11pm to 2am at the Trindadebar, Rua Dr Ricardo Jorge 41 in Porto. But if 2am is still to early for you to go home, you can still enjoy partying at in these places :
This year, Marcha do Orgulho LGBT+ no Porto created a small movie to promote the event. A part of the video was taped on 22nd of June 2019 in Avenida dos Aliados, where people – from the LGBTQ+ community or not – were invited to participate in the video. Check it out below
We hope that this article helped you understand better the reason of having a Pride every year throughout the world:
- To Remember the Stonewall Riots
- To claim equal rights for people from the LGBTQ+ community.
A lot has been done but so much is yet to do.
So don’t hesitate to join the event this saturday! Bring your Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent and remember… if you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?
Now… Sashay away…!