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20 Facts Everyone Should Know About Gay Pride & LGBT History (Part 1)

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June is LGBT Pride Month, when we celebrate the great strides made by the LGBT movement. This year marks 45 years since the Stonewall riots, widely considered the spark of the gay rights movement, and 10 years since Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage. Despite the turning tide, Pride Month still matters as gay rights—just one facet of civil rights—continue to be a polarizing issue.

In his 2014 Inaugural Address, President Obama said, “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truth—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall…” By grouping these protests together, he shows that they were all about the same basic thing—the disparity in rights among people who, by the State’s definition are all equal. Pride Month is recognized by the U.S. government and is marked across the U.S. and around the world by parades, waving rainbow flags, and other celebrations. With that in mind, here are some important facts about LGBT history.

5. The Society for Human Rights was the first gay rights organization in the United States

Gay flag

Henry Gerber, a German immigrant who experienced discrimination in the U.S. as a homosexual, established the Society for Human Rights in Chicago in 1924. The Society was chartered, but was shut down only a few months later when several members were arrested.

4. In 1933 the Nazis banned homosexual groups in the Third Reich

Gay men, in particular, were arrested and sent to concentration camps and the gas chambers as the Nazis believed that they were weak, could not fight for Germany and that they wouldn’t produce children to benefit the Aryan race. Like the yellow star for Jews, the Nazis forced gays to wear a downward-pointing pink triangle badge to identify them as gay.

3. Gay pride: The first lesbian bar, Mona’s 440 Club, opened in San Francisco in 1936

A gay couple

June was chosen as Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall uprising/riots on June 28, 1969. On this day police raided the Stonewall Inn, a mafia-owned gay bar which had been paying off the police to ignore its gay customers since bars that served alcohol to gays could have their liquor licenses revoked.

Unlike past similar events, people protested and refused to be led away, sparking riots and what is thought to be the beginning of the gay rights movement. The first LGBT Pride Parade was held in NYC in 1970.

2. The Gay Liberation Movement began in the 1960s and 70s

The Gay Liberation Movement involved gay and lesbian individuals encouraging their LGBT peers to come out to their families and friends.

1. Prior to Stonewall there was the Black Cat Tavern


On New Years Eve 1967, police in Los Angeles raided the Black Cat Tavern, arresting several patrons and bartender sparking demonstrations and riots.

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