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9 facts you should know about pride

June 27, 2019

If you’re like me, you probably didn’t find out until recently that June is Pride month. Not knowing that there was a dedicated month to the LQBTQ2S+ community it made me realize that I don’t know much about the month, the parade or anything for that matter. In my attempt to stay “woke” this pride month, I took it upon myself to do research on pride and how it all came about. The LGBTQ2S+ community has so much culture and untold history that isn’t talked about much. Pride isn’t only about a parade - it is so much more.

Here are the most interesting facts of things I learned this pride month: 

The pride parade wasn’t just a celebration

In history, many of the first pride parades started in riots and protests for the rights of the LGBTQ2S+ community. In August of 1971, the first protests for gay rights took place in Ottawa and Vancouver, demanding an end to all forms of state discrimination against gays and lesbians. In Winnipeg, some of the first participants of this event wore paper bags over their heads out of fear of rallying in public. The event has since grown to a vibrant, annual festival and is done so to remember the times they weren’t allowed to express themselves freely. 


Pride month is in June to commemorate the Stonewall riot

June 28, 1969, a riot broke out at The Stonewall Inn in New York. At the time, the Stonewall Inn was a gay club in Manhatten. The police raid the club, which sparked a protest. The police and community were clashing throughout the night, and it continued for the rest of the week. The Stonewall riot is known to have sparked a movement worldwide.

Montreal had their own version of the Stonewall riot

On July 15, 1990. police raided The Sex Garages After Party. The violence ignited 36 hours of clashes between Montreal’s LGBT community and the police force, which was accused at the time of harbouring a culture of homophobia. The Sex Garage raid is now widely considered to be Montreal’s Stonewall. Sex Garage politicized a generation of LGBT activists who would change the Quebec political landscape, uniting gays and lesbians, and francophones and anglophones, in a common front. These activists would establish the Divers/Cité Pride March and political-action groups like La Table de concertation des gaies et lesbiennes du grand Montréal to successfully fight for LGBT civil rights and improve gay life in Montreal.

Toronto’s first Pride parade started as a rally

In 1981 the catalyst for Toronto’s Pride events was the Bathhouse Raids that occurred on February 5, 1981. Police stormed four gay bathhouses in the city as part of what they called “Operation Soap” and arrested just under 300 men. For the majority, charges were later dropped or dismissed. Rallies were held in response to the injustice, and it was these mass protests that evolved into the first Toronto Pride "celebration"


Montreal and Vancouver become the first Canadian cities to host an official Pride march and festival.

They did it first.


The largest pride parade is in Sao Paulo, Brazil

If you thought that Toronto had the biggest turn out for their annual pride parade - think again. The Guinness Book of World Records named Sao Paulo's parade the largest Gay Pride celebration in the world in 2006, with 2.5 million attendees. They haven’t lost that title since and the parade gets bigger every year.


The pride flag isn’t the only flag out there

The rainbow pride flag isn’t the only LGBTQ2S+ flag. Many of the different LGBTQ2S+ identities came up with their flags. Identities such as bisexual, transgender, asexual, pansexual, intersex etc. came up with their flags to have something to represent them accurately. The rainbow pride flag is used as an umbrella flag for all of the identities.  


The original pride flag had eight colours

1978 was the year that the first pride flag was made. The first pride flag had eight different colours, which included pink and turquoise. At the time, hot pink was a non-standard colour in flag fabric production and deemed too costly to reproduce, so the colours were dropped so the flags can be more accessible. 


A lot of the pride flags have different meanings and well thought out designs

In the classic pride flag, all of the colours have a different purpose. The meaning of the colours is red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for harmony and purple for spirit. The bisexual flag design is well thought out as the magenta represents same-sex attraction, the blue represents heterosexual attraction, and the lavender, which is a mixture of both the magenta and blue, represents attraction to both sexes. The transgender flag has an equally as beautiful story the creator of the flag describes it as “The stripes at the top and bottom are light blue, the traditional colour for baby boys. The stripes next to them are pink, the traditional colour for baby girls. The stripe in the middle is white, for those who are intersex, transitioning or consider themselves having a neutral or undefined gender. The pattern is such that no matter which way you fly it, it is always correct, signifying us finding correctness in our lives” Every flag has a different purpose for the design.

Happy Pride Month everyone!