The most common question that every gay person is asked is “when did you first realise you were gay?” This quite innocent question assumes that you were born straight and suddenly one day, out of the blue, you glanced at the same sex and realised that you didn’t fancy the opposite sex anymore. The reality is, our gay and lesbian friends are actually ‘born that way’ (thanks Lady Gaga) with innate preferences and desires of their very own, just as you and I do. This is what makes us individuals right? So why, in 2016, is gay marriage even an issue, much less unrecognised by our legal system? It just goes to show we have a long way to go in our ‘democratic’ society of equal rights for all citizens. To answer the question, “when did you first realise you were gay?” The obvious answer is “the same time you first realised you were straight!”
What is Pride Month?
June has been hailed as the month to celebrate the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community. The purpose of pride month is to break down barriers, promote diversity, and educate society that the LGBT community consists of individuals who want fairness and equality, particularly in regard to their legal rights.
LGBT Pride Month takes place in June, to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots that took place in Manhattan, New York City. In the early hours of June 28, the Stonewall Inn, a popular New York gay bar was raided by police. Although the raid was justified as the club had been committing several violations, the gay community had been consistently targeted by the police which included shutting down all the gay bars in the city. The crowd remained patient until three drag queens and a lesbian were unfairly forced into the back of a police car, serving as the tipping point for the community. This caused the first upheaval by the gay community against unfair policy, to take a stand for their rights. Following on from the Stonewall riots was several days of violent demonstrations which eventually led to the formation of the Gay Liberation front. The bravery of these individuals in standing up for their beliefs changed the course of history in terms of LGBT rights, and is honoured through celebrations in June.
The last Sunday in June initially became “Gay Pride Day” and the day very quickly grew into a month long series of events. All around the world festivals, parties, and picnics are held to celebrate the diversity of people and eliminate prejudice. Memorials are often held during the month for people who have been lost to hate crimes, or HIV/AIDS.
In Australia, Gay Pride month is celebrated and many pride events are held to recognise the impact LGBT people have had in the world including the now famous Sydney LGBT Mardi Gras. It is now quite common for universities to celebrate gender variance without discrimination, such as the University of the Sunshine Coast’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) which is a worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversities.
Although the next Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will occur on 17 March 2017, there are plenty of events scheduled in June such as the Sydney Pride Festival 2016 Young Heroes so if you would like to get involved and show your support for the wonderfully brave and beautiful humans that colour our world, we encourage you to partake with pride for Pride Month.
Rainbows, rainbows everywhere!