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May 29th, 2022

A Brief History of Pride

Art & Culture

While you may frequent annual Pride celebrations around the world or - ahem - the most epic celebration right here in San Francisco - do you know how Pride came to be? Not every1 does. So in honor of Pride Month and SF Pride, which is happening June 25-26, 2022, we’re here to fill you in on the brave souls that made Pride such a universally accepted event.

Although we’ve become the most famous city for Pride, Pride didn’t start in SF. In fact, the first Pride parade was held on the other side of the country - in New York City. However, the circumstances weren’t as joyous as they are today. The first “parade” was really a march. It was in response to the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village. In 1969 NYPD raided the Stonewall Inn on Christopher St., which was a popular gay hangout. It was also a home to many gay youth that had either run away from home or had been kicked out of their homes by their parents.

So when NYPD raided the bar in the early hours of June 28, 1969, the patrons fought back. They fought back for six days, using anything and everything in their power - from bottles to shoes. This was one of the first definitive actions that the community had taken against the discrimination they were living - and after Stonewall, the gay community began to organize even more. One year after the Stonewall Riots, the first gay pride march was born in NYC to commemorate the altercation. LA and SF marched in solidarity on the same day. And in 1972, SF marched again, in what would soon become an annual tradition, and today the most emblematic representation of gay pride in the world.

Want to know another #funfact about Pride? While we can’t take [complete] credit for Pride, we can take credit for the rainbow flag. That was the work of Gilbert Baker, a young activist who worked closely with Harvey Milk, SF’s (and the state’s) first openly gay politician elected to public office. Milk asked him to create a symbol for the gay community, and Baker created the rainbow flag, a symbolic representation of the community. Red represents life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for art, and violet for the human spirit. #nowyouknow


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