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SUNY Empire Library News & Alerts

Pride Month

by Sara Hull on 2024-06-05T10:35:40-04:00 | 0 Comments

The rights and freedoms of LGBTQIA2S+ individuals in this country have been continually trampled over centuries. From "gay conversion therapy" and forced  institutionalization beginning in the 19th century to Ron DeSantis's "Parental Rights in Education" law, known by opponents as the "Don't Say Gay" law, sexual orientation and gender expression have existed under the terrible weight of ever-increasing scrutiny, bullying, and violence throughout our nation's history.

In the 1960s in New York, the police routinely raided gay bars looking for so-called "criminal" activities such as same sex individuals holding hands, kissing, dancing together, or anyone considered to be cross-dressing. These raids were often violent, and they continued unabated until June 28, 1969, when the police raided the Stonewall Inn in violent fashion. This time, a crowd remained outside in protest and, when a lesbian was struck in the head by police loading her into a cruiser, the protest itself turned violent, with crowds throwing objects and going so far as to set fire to the Stonewall Inn with police and their prisoners inside (, 2021). The Stonewall Uprising sparked a movement that demanded equality for individuals regardless of their sexual orientation or gender expression, and that movement continues to this day.

The first Pride parades were held in Chicago and NYC in June 1970 to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. In 1978, Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official, asked Gilbert Baker to design a symbol to replace the pink triangle which Nazi Germany forced gay men to wear in concentration camps; the Pride Flag was the result (Mental Floss, 2021). "In 1994, a coalition of education-based organizations in the United States designated October as LGBT History Month" (LOC, 2022). And in 1999, Bill Clinton became the first sitting president to officially recognize Pride Month (Mental Floss, 2021).

Currently, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is the first LGBTQIA2S+ individual to serve in the Cabinet, and Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine is the first transgender individual to be confirmed by the senate. Yet, even as LGBTQIA2S+ individuals ascend to the highest levels of our government, bullying and violence are rampant, transgender athletes are struggling for their place in sports, book bans and battles over LGBTQIA2S+ issues in education are being fought across several states, and regressive state laws continue to be proposed and codified.

LGBTQIA2S+ individuals and allies stand together with pride against these wrongs, and to improve education of, understanding from, and acceptance by those who currently fail to see the basic humanity and deserved equality, rights, and freedoms of LGBTQIA2S+ people. To learn more about these centuries of struggles, celebrations, and pride, we invite you to visit the library's Pride Month guide.


Baker-Jordan, Skylar. (2021, June 2). 10 Facts About the History of LGBTQ Pride Month. Mental Floss.

Biden, Joseph, R, Jr.. (2023, May 31). A Proclamation on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride Month, 2023. The White House.,Queer%2C%20and%20Intersex%20Pride%20Month. Editors. (2021, June 25). Stonewall Riots.

Library of Congress. (2022). About Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month.

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