Every year, London commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Riots with a grand Pride Parade and numerous LGBTQ+ events taking place throughout the month. These festivities encompass theatre, dance, art exhibitions, parties, and a wide array of enjoyable activities. To honour the anniversary of Stonewall, this year's London Pride Parade will take place on July 1st starting at Hyde Park Corner.
The Stonewall Riots acted as a pivotal moment and catalyst for the gay rights movement not only in America but across the globe, profoundly shaping its trajectory and impact. During 1960s America, there were significant challenges for individuals identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender as engaging in "unacceptable" behaviour, such as holding hands, kissing, or dancing with the same sex was against the law. Due to these circumstances, individuals within the queer community sought solace in gay bars and clubs, where they could freely express themselves and socialise. Subsequently, it became a regular occurrence for law enforcement authorities to conduct raids on these establishments, forcibly removing both their patrons and employees. These raids were often accompanied by violence with those caught in the crosshairs facing arrest, physical assault, or worse.
In the early hours of June 28th, 1969, the New York City Police Department raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, which ignited a riot that spread throughout the club and its surrounding neighbourhood. The incident sparked a series of six-day-long riots on Christopher Street outside of the bar and propelled the advancement of the gay rights movement. The following year, on June 28th, thousands of individuals took to the streets of Manhattan, marching from the Stonewall Inn to Central Park, commemorating America's first Pride Parade.
The UK followed suit two years later by holding its first Gay Pride Parade on July 1st, 1972 in London. This event has evolved into an annual gathering where individuals can unite to demonstrate visibility, solidarity, and the pursuit of equality within the LGBTQ+ community.