You have probably heard of the Twin Cities Pride Festival in one capacity or another. You might have seen the festivities being talked about on the news, or gotten caught up in the parade’s traffic, or had the sudden barrage of rainbows lining the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul catch your eye. But why do we celebrate it? Is it worth attending? And is it an appropriate activity for the whole family?
In cities all over the world, the month of June has become synonymous with Gay Pride. June was dubbed “Pride Month” in order to honor and remember the Stonewall uprising that took place in Greenwich Village in June of 1969. The uprising started after police raided a known gay club and resulted in the deaths of 8 queer, unarmed people. Over the course of the next few days, people banned together to protest police violence, and to advocate for their rights to live and love freely. The protests against profound injustice inspired queer and straight people alike engage in political activism, and to form some of the first gay rights organizations, including GLAAD and PFLAG. In short, the Stonewall uprising was the catalyst for the Gay Rights Movement.
While the world has dramatically improved for queer people from the 1960’s, it is still important to stand united against the continued violence and discrimination of queer people, and to affirm the dignity and rights of all people. It is still important to remember those we have lost to hate crimes, HIV/AIDS, and suicide. And yes, it is still important to celebrate sexually diverse and gender variant people, who often feel marginalized and excluded from mainstream, heteronormative culture.
So yes—it is important for you to go to at least one part of pride. If floats with drag queens aren’t your thing, check out Family Fun Day on June 16th at Como Park. If R-rated comedy isn’t up your alley, perhaps visiting the art exhibition or joining the Rainbow Run would be better suited to your interests? At the very least, check-out the vendors, charities, and local businesses giving away free swag all weekend in Loring Park (and stay to see TLC in concert!). All that’s standing in your way now is deciding which events are the right events for you to attend, and finding the perfect rainbow accessories to make your experience complete!