North Carolina's annual Pride event is coming up this weekend. It's the first NC Pride since the pro-equality Supreme Court decisions this summer, so there should be a lot of energy out there. The main event is of course on Saturday with the fair grounds style tent set up, speakers, and marches around the Duke East Campus and 9th street areas. It's a lot of fun, and you should check it out if you've never been.
I am intentionally calling it a Pride march rather than a Pride Parade, because while I think both are fair descriptions, I want to highlight its history. The annual pride marches are just that, marches for equality, although they have taken on a very festive atmosphere over the years.
The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community[note 1] against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for gay and lesbian rights in the United States.
On June 28, 1970, the first Gay Pride marches took place in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York commemorating the anniversary of the riots. Similar marches were organized in other cities. Today, Gay Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall riots.
In North Carolina the annual event has been moved to September for the past many years due to weather and heat concerns, but it grows out of that history as an equal rights march. Marches have continued to be an important piece of the puzzle in struggling for equality as it has in many other justice and civil rights movements.
The March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation was a large political rally that took place in Washington, D.C. on April 25, 1993. Organizers estimated 1,000,000 attended the March. This was backed up by estimates by the D.C. police, that put the number between 800,000 and more than 1 million attendees.
So don't just ask yourself, is a Pride Parade something I want to attend? Instead ask yourself is an equal rights march something I want to attend? And if the answer is yes, then hopefully I'll see you out there this weekend.