About the Pride Movement

In order to understand the origins of the Pride Movement, one must look back to June 28th, 1969. The Stonewall Inn, an LGBT bar in the Greenwich Village neighborhood in Manhattan, New York City, was the location for what is, "widely considered to be the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States" (source: National Parks Service).


The years leading up to the events at Stonewall were filled with violence, police brutality, discrimination, and hate toward the LGBTQIA+ community. Continued, targeted raids by the New York City police led to tension between the department and the LGBTQIA+ community, specifically the patrons at Stonewall. It wasn't long before the tension developed into protests, and then riots. Anger toward the injustice experienced by the LGBT community came to a point, and the crowd struggled against the police. One individual who was there, Michael Fader, said the following: "We felt that we had freedom at last, or freedom to at least show that we demanded freedom. We weren't going to be walking meekly in the night and letting them shove us around—it's like standing your ground for the first time and in a really strong way, and that's what caught the police by surprise. There was something in the air, freedom a long time overdue, and we're going to fight for it. It took different forms, but the bottom line was, we weren't going to go away. And we didn't."

The Stonewall Riots predicated the rise of a new era in LGBTQ+ affairs worldwide. Individuals and activists such as Marsha P. Johnson -- an African-American trans woman, sex worker, and founder of the Gay Liberation Front -- were instrumental in the Stonewall uprising, and indeed catalyzed the movement. With Johnson, Sylvia Rivera helped start some of the first programs to serve LGBTQIA+ people on the streets. The efforts of Johnson and Rivera, along with many others, undoubtedly paved the way for LGBTQIA+ rights today.

Community Outreach Committee

Photo from PBS, originally published in the New York Daily News.

Community Outreach Committee

Photo from PrideFest 2014 in St. Louis.


Origins of Pride

The first gay pride, called the "Christopher Street Liberation Day" was held on June 28th, 1970 in New York City. Christopher Street was the location of the Stonewall Inn. This first pride, simultaneously held in Chicago and Los Angeles, commemorated the Stonewall Riots. A year later, more pride celebrations took place around the world -- everywhere from the United Kingdom, to France, to Germany, to Sweden.

Ten years later, in 1980, St. Louis had their first Gay and Lesbian Pride Celebration. Sponsored by the "Magnolia Committee," named for the street where the majority of the member lived and had their meetings, a week's worth of activities were planned in April of 1980. Each year thereafter, Pride in St. Louis grew larger. In the process, "Pride St. Louis," the nonprofit organization planning PrideFest each year, was born. Now, in 2018, Pride St. Louis operates PrideCenter, the region's only LGBTQIA+ community center.