Straight Ally Flag
June is Pride Month and June 28 is Pride Day. They recognize the dignity of our family, coworkers, and friends who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer.
Many have heard of the Stonewall Uprising in New York in June 1969, which led to designation of June as the month for observance. But before that incident, groups and events tried to support the identities of gay and lesbian people in this country. The Mattachine Society was formed secretly by gay men in Los Angeles in 1950. The Daughters of Bilitis was started by a Filipina woman in San Francisco in 1955 on behalf of the rights of lesbians, and published a magazine called The Ladder. At that time, the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a mental disorder. And police routinely went undercover to gay-friendly bars to try to make solicitation cases and seize liquor licenses.
In the early hours of June 28, 1969, New York city police raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. Several hours before the raid, undercover police had visited the bar. A crowd formed as the police tried to arrest customers. A large crowd gathered and began interfering with the arrests. More than a dozen people were arrested, and the event received extensive news coverage. The incident prompted organizing, publishing, and demonstrations on behalf of gay rights and gay recognition.
On the first anniversary of the uprising, pride parades were held in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. In the following years more cities held pride parades. In 1999, President Clinton designated June “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month,” and other presidents followed. Other support organizations also came into being. Many schools now have gay-straight alliances in which students seek to affirm and empower fellow students. Recognition in the United States is in stark contrast to conditions in over 65 countries where homosexual acts are illegal and punishable by years in prison or in some cases, by death. The U.S. Uniform Crime Reporting Program counted 7,759 hate crime incidents in the United States in 2020.
In 1982, Tampa Pride held its first festival on the USF Campus, and organized the first parade in Tampa in the mid-1990’s. St. Pete Pride began organizing an annual parade in 2003. In 1997, Nadine Smith of St. Petersburg helped found Equality Florida, a statewide civil rights organization. In March 2022, Governor DeSantis’s signed House Bill 1157, the “Parental Rights in Education” law that restricts educators in the types of gender and sexuality content they may teach, and which has been dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law by its opponents. The law has renewed focus on gay advocacy and education.