In order to make progress as a society, we must first learn about our history, learning of the stories we may have never heard of, or thought about, such as the turning points of the gay rights movement. In celebration of Pride month, the history and key components of the LGBTQ Rights Movement should be discussed. This includes the Stonewall Riots, the major turning point and unifying factor of the LGBTQ Rights Movement. The creation of the Pride flag also deserves a spotlight as it, too, has played a massive role in the unification of queer people everywhere. June is a month of celebration for the LGBTQ+ community, and that is just as important! So join us in the celebration of progress and living as your true self.Raindrop- Rainbow Graffiti
The Stonewall Riots
The 1960’s and years beforehand proved to be a difficult, almost impossible, time for members of the LGBTQ+ community. These people were tired of hiding and wanted to be themselves without discrimination, which was a daily struggle due to laws against “soliciting same-sex relationships.”
Bars and clubs became hotspots and safe places for the lesbian, gay, and trans people to be themselves and socialize. Many gay clubs and bars were owned by members of the mafia, the crime ring seeing profits to be made from the marginalized community, allowing queer folks to drink and be merry for the small price of an entrance fee. With the inn being registered as a “bottle bar,” a liquor license wasn’t required, as serving alcohol to LGBTQ+ people was illegal not even a decade prior, and many patrons brought their own drinks. Unfortunately, police raids were a normal thing to endure at the time, and most times the bars and clubs would be tipped off so they could hide all of the alcohol. The night of June 28, 1969, there was no tip. No warning. No time to prepare. In came the police, rounding people up and arresting thirteen people. As this happened, angry patrons and neighbors stood around, refusing to disperse. One woman was roughly manhandled and hit over the head as she was being arrested, and shouted for the spectators to act, to do something! And so they did. The crowd started throwing things at the police, pennies, bottles, and stones. The police and those they had arrested set up a barricade in the bar, which the protesters broke and eventually attempted to burn the Stonewall Inn down. The fire department and riot squad were eventually sent in to stop the fire, get people out of the inn, and disperse the crowd, but this riot lasted for five days, sometimes involving over a thousand people. The Stonewall riots was not the beginning of the gay rights movement, but it served as a unifying force for LGBTQ+ activism, especially in political movements.
Making the Flag
Almost ten years after the Stonewall Riots occurred, a queer artist in San Francisco, Gilbert Baker, decided to make a flag to represent the diversity, as well as the demand for equal rights. The original Pride flag had 8 colors, and was inspired by the American flag, as well as the French flag, as both were granted freedom and equality through riots and reform. Baker created this flag as a cry of power, uniting queer individuals.
The original flag, which debuted in 1978, had 8 colors, each with its own meaning. The pink stood for sex, the red for life, orange is for healing, and yellow stands for sunlight. Green is for nature, turquoise was for magic, indigo is for serenity, and violet is for spirit. Since its debut in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Pride Parade, the flag has become a unifying symbol worldwide. The flag now consists of six colors, as hot pink was too expensive a fabric to use in mass production, and the turquoise was taken out to make the stripes an even number.
In more recent years, there have been adaptations to the flag.
The Philadelphia flag was introduced in 2017, adding two more stripes on top of the rainbow. The black and brown stripes are meant to bring awareness to the hardships faced by queer people of color, and include them in discussions they had previously been excluded from. There has also been an adaptation which adds the trans flag, as well as the black and brown stripes. This Progress flag has these colors in an arrow shape on the left of the flag, showing the progress needed for true equality no matter race, gender, or sexuality, especially for HIV-positive individuals.
While much work is to be done for true equality, it is important to celebrate how far parts of our world have come, where people can celebrate who they are and who they love without hiding. Thanks to the bravery and dedication of the black trans women at Stonewall, and people like Gilbert Baker, Harvey Milk, and thousands of others, there is more freedom for people to be their true selves. We would like to do our part to make the world a safer and more loving place, so all of our earrings in this collection will have half of the sale price donated to The Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is an organization dedicated to providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention to gay and trans people under the age of 25. They have a toll-free number and trained counselors offering confidential services, as well as providing crisis training courses for counselors, educators, and social workers to aid LGBTQ+ youth. Be sure to stay safe, share the love, and let your creative energy flow! Happy Pride month, everyone!
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