June is Pride Month! Each year we celebrate the dynamic culture and history of the LGBTQIA+ community. The queer community has enriched the fabric of American life with vital cultural, political, scientific, and historical contributions. Pride Month is a time to reflect on those achievements and honor them, as well as to pay tribute to all the pioneering gay activists who fought for the visibility and acceptance that so many community members enjoy today. At Rio Salado College, we are proud of all our students, faculty, and staff that are part of this vibrant and resilient community.
A Brief History Of Pride Month
Pride Month is held each year in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Riots took place over six days in June as LGBTQIA+ protesters clashed with police in response to a brutal police raid of a gay bar. Stonewall became the tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in America. Advocates openly paraded and fought for their rights, stepping out of the shadows and closets they had been forced to live in for generations.
The first Pride march was held in New York City in 1970, kicking off an annual tradition that has grown over the years. While Pride started as a way of honoring the Stonewall Riots, the month of June has also become a time of reflection to remember and memorialize all the people who perished of HIV/AIDS.
All The Colors Of The Rainbow
The acronym of the Pride community has expanded over the years. If you find yourself wondering what all the letters represent, here's an easy breakdown:
- L is for lesbians. This represents the community of women who are attracted to other women.
- G is for gay. Note that this isn't just in reference to gay men. Gay in this context is an umbrella term that refers to anyone who is attracted to a person of the same gender.
- B is for bisexual. This stands for people who are attracted to both men and women.
- T is for transgender. This is an umbrella term for anyone whose gender identity does not match the gender they were assigned at birth. This includes nonbinary individuals, as well as transwomen and transmen.
- Q is for queer. While it was once used primarily as a homophobic slur, the term has been reclaimed by the community over the years. Queer is a bit of a catch-all, encompassing label for anyone who exists outside of societal norms of gender/sexuality. The Q can also refer to "questioning" individuals who are still unsure where they fall on the spectrum of sexuality or gender.
- I is for intersex. This is for individuals who are born with both male and female chromosomes and/or sex characteristics. They often get lumped in with the trans community but are in fact their own unique identity. It's also important to note that an intersex person may not identify with the LGBTQIA+ community.
- A is for asexual. Asexual people (often referred to as "ace") are people who don't feel sexual attraction at all. It doesn't mean that they can't or do not form romantic attractions: asexual people can get married, be in relationships, and may even choose to engage in some form of sexual activity on occasion.
- + is for other communities. There are many identities that are also a part of the LGBTQIA community. For the sake of brevity, they are represented by the plus sign. These groups include Two-spirit, Genderfluid, Pansexual, Demisexual, Aromantic, and Agender.
Learn More About Pride At Rio’s Library
Interested in deepening your knowledge on all things Pride? The library staff at Rio Salado College have put together an informative guide that includes information about the history of Pride Month, fun facts about LGBTQIA+ history, a primer on pronouns, and a selection of featured eBooks from the library. The Pride 2023 library guide also includes links to free documentaries and short videos about Pride Month and the accomplishments of the LGBTQIA + community.
Save The Date
If you’re looking to get festive during Pride in Arizona, you may have to wait a bit. Due to the summer heat Phoenix’s Pride Festival happens in the Fall. This year’s Phoenix Pride Festival takes place in downtown Phoenix from October 21-22. It’s the best of both worlds: you can show your pride without also having to worry about getting a heat-stroke.
Stay Tuned For More Pride
Later this month we’ll share a piece recommending a few great books, records, and films to watch during Pride that can give you a deeper appreciation and understanding for the struggles and triumphs of the LGBTQIA+ community.