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Celebrating Pride Month 2021

Morgan Jeremy, Police Reporter

June 1 marks the beginning of Pride, a month-long celebration of LGBTQ+ individuals and culture in remembrance of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. 

Back in the 60s, members of the LGBTQ community experienced extreme discrimination and were forced to hide parts of their identity to avoid being ostracized, harassed, or even arrested. While there were few “safe spaces” like the Stonewall Inn in New York City where people were free to be themselves, these places were frequently raided by police, resulting in individuals being forcefully removed and in some cases arrested or publically humiliated. 

However, during one of these particular raids on June 29, 1969, the crowd gathered at Stonewall Inn refused to back down, began throwing objects and barricaded themselves inside so that police could not enter. Then the group led by Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera took to the streets shouting phrases like “Gay Power” and “Liberate Christopher Street.”

The event proved to be instrumental for the early gay rights movement. It demonstrated to LGBTQ+ individuals everywhere that their identities are not something that needs to be hidden but something they can take pride in. 

“By the time of Stonewall…we had fifty to sixty gay groups in the country,” said renowned gay rights activist Frank Kameny. “A year later, there were at least fifteen hundred. By two years later, to the extent that counts could be made, it was twenty-five hundred. And that was the impact of Stonewall.”

Image courtesy of Toni Reed via Unsplash.

Pride at UNF

Throughout June, the LGBTQ Center at the University of North Florida is hosting several events open to all students who want to celebrate pride. 

From Thursday, June 3 – Sunday, June 6, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville (MOCA) will present “The Many Sides of Pride — 10 films highlighting the diversity of LGBTQ+ stories and storytellers, celebrating their impact on the world of cinema.” This event is free and in-person and features presentations from filmmakers, panel discussions with members of Jacksonville’s LGBTQ+ community, and moderated post-film conversations.

On Saturday, June 5 at 3 p.m. join virtually as Campus Pride and PFLAG National for a commencement honoring LGBTQ+ college graduates from 18 colleges and universities, including the University of North Florida. This event is also free and is available to stream from www.CampusPride.org/2021, on Campus Pride social media channels, and PFLAG National’s Facebook page.

Finally, on Sunday, June 6 at 11 a.m. the LGBTQ center is proud to host Drag Queen Brunch starring local queen Karissa Wade and featuring appearances by The Lady Visaya, Chastity Ross Boen, Cinnamon Laroche, and RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars season 4 winner, Trinity The Tuck. The event will take place at the Jacksonville Main Public Library, and tickets are available for sale now

For more information about events, the LGBTQ+ community, and Pride at UNF, visit the LGBTQ center.

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For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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