LGBTQ+ Pride Month is a time of celebration and belonging, allowing people to celebrate our own individual identities, what makes us each unique, our collective diversity and the lives and contributions of our LGBTQ+ friends, family and colleagues.
Allies or supporters of LGBTQ+ individuals often participate and celebrate with their friends or family members who identify as LGBTQ+. This support is affirming and empowering for many within the community. The LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Movement is commonly associated with having started in June 1969 with the Stonewall Riots in New York City. This effort was largely led by transgender women of color. The first Pride march was held in New York City in 1970 to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. More information on the background of LGBTQ+ Pride Month can be found on the Library of Congress website.
What do the letters mean?
The LGBTQ+ community is comprised of different groups of individuals who share various gender identities and sexual orientations. Each letter within the acronym represents a different subgroup within the community. As language evolves and we adopt new terms to describe our own individual sexual orientations or gender identities, the acronym evolves as well. For example, you may also see the acronym LGBTQIA+, which includes intersex and asexual.
- Queer* or Questioning
- + is a place marker for the inclusion of any identities or orientations that don't fall under the terms described above.
Gender identity is more than the sex that we were assigned at birth. Gender identity and expression are a reflection of how we naturally perceive ourselves and our bodies. Sexual orientation, on the other hand, is a reflection of who we are physically or romantically attracted to. Everyone has their own unique sexual orientation and gender identity.
* The word "queer" has undergone an evolution within the last few decades. In the past it had a negative connotation and is sometimes still used to describe LGBTQ+ persons in a negative light. Many members of the LGBTQ+ community have re-appropriated this term to identify themselves with pride and self-love. In general, it is not appropriate to use the word "queer" to describe other people; instead, if someone chooses to identify as queer, we should simply allow them to tell us and express that themselves.
Created in 2018 by a non-binary American artist and designer, Daniel Quasar, the Progress Flag is a redesign of the original rainbow flag from 1978. For the most part it has received widespread acceptance from the LGBTQ+ community.
- In 2017, the black and brown stripes were added to highlight the discrimination of black and brown members of the LGBTQ+ community.
- The addition of the white, pink and blue stripes that join the brown and black stripes in composing the arrow are representative of the transgender community's ongoing struggle for acceptance and equity.
- The combined five stripes, composing the arrow, represent the most vulnerable within the LGBTQ+ community and the need for ongoing advocacy to ensure that their voices are heard and their needs are met. Designer Danial Quasar explained: "The arrow points to the right to show forward movement […] and illustrates that progress [towards inclusivity] still needs to be made."
LGBTQ+ Pride Month Parades & Celebrations
Parades and celebrations during Pride Month are common and often planned with family audiences in mind. LGBTQ+ pride celebrations are often very memorable for first-time attendees. They can be uplifting, empowering and instill a sense of belonging. The 50th Annual Twin Cities Pride Festival will take place on June 25-26, 2022, at Loring Park in downtown Minneapolis, featuring local BIPOC and LGBTQ+ vendors. Their mission is to "empower every LGBTQ+ person to live as their true self."
We envision a future where all LGBTQ+ people are valued and celebrated for who they are.
Resources for Students, Parents and Educators
- Twin Cities Pride has compiled a list of resources for our community, which you can find here.
- Students entering Richfield High School in the 2022-23 year are invited to join "G.L.O.W" (Gay, Lesbian Or Whatever), a group of RHS students who work to create safe spaces and talk about the various issues they face in school and their broader community. G.L.O.W. students take a leadership role to improve school climate, including anti-slur campaigns, days of LGBTQ+ awareness, teacher trainings and lobbying sessions to let officials know what they need to live authentically and thrive in school. Students who are interested should contact advisors Patrick Wells at email@example.com or Jill Carlton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Students entering Richfield Middle School in the 2022-23 year are also invited to join a group of fellow middle schoolers in an inclusive and safe group. Interested students should contact advisor Nicki Keen at email@example.com.
- Richfield Public Schools is committed to providing a safe, equitable and inclusive space for all students, staff and community members. We encourage you to check out the District's Gender Inclusion Policy as well. Any students or families who need support should contact their child's school counselor or social worker. Contact information can be found on each school's website under Student Support Services in the Student Life section.
Earliest Same-Gender Marriage in U.S.
The earliest same-gender marriage in the United States took place right here in Minnesota, when Jack Baker and Michael McConnell applied for a marriage license. They were denied the first time, but applied in a second county. On September 3, 1971, a judge declared their marriage "to be in all respects valid," a ruling now accepted as the earliest same-gender marriage ever to be recognized by a civil government.
The pastor who married them, Reverend Roger W. Lynn, calls theirs one of his "more successful marriages." You can read more about Jack and Michael in this New York Times article.
The Beginning of the LGBTQ+ Rights Movement in Minneapolis
What began as an informal class at the University of Minnesota transformed into an official U of M student group in 1969 called "FREE". Although it was short-lived, it was deeply influential to the LGBTQ+ rights movement in Minneapolis.
Before Jack Baker and Michael McConnell applied to be married the first time, McConnell had been offered a job, but after the Board of Regents found out he was gay, they took the job offer back. Jack Baker was the president of FREE, which protested hiring discrimination and worked to create change within the University.
In 1993, twenty years later, Minnesota became the first state to outlaw discrimination based on gender or sexuality. You can read more here.
Did you know that the term "Gay Pride" was coined by Thom Higgins, a gay rights activist from Minnesota? In 1971, he crafted a "Gay Pride" banner and chant to encourage allies, supports and bystanders to defeat condemnation of homosexuality and self-pride.
In 1972, the first Twin Cities Pride festival took place. This year, in 2022, Minneapolis is celebrating 50 Years of Pride.