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The origins of Pride Month

Pride month is celebrated in June each year by LGBT+ communities around the world. The month of June was chosen to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, or uprising, of June 1969.


On 28 June 1969, the Stonewall Inn in New York City (a popular LGBT+ bar) was raided by the New York Police Department (NYPD). The Library of Congress notes that the Stonewall Inn had been raided on average once a month leading up to the events of 28 June 1969. Patrons shouted and threw coins and bottles at police. Thousands of people joined the protests that evening, and the protests would grow over the next few days. Some Stonewall veterans have since said that they prefer the term Stonewall uprising or rebellion: “The rebellion (it was never a ‘riot’) lasted five inconsecutive nights (they were not ‘riots’)”. In June 2019, James O’Neill, then Commissioner of the NYPD, apologised for the NYPD’s actions.


The Gay Liberation Front (GLF), a protest group that demanded equal rights for LGBT+ people, originated in the US shortly after the events at the Stonewall Inn. Bob Mellors, then a student at the London School of Economics, and Aubrey Walter attended the Black Panthers’ Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1970. Upon their return to the UK the two started a London branch of the GLF. The group held its first protest on 25 November 1970 in Highbury Fields against the arrest of Louis Eakes for the offence of “importuning”. The GLF described their action as a “gay-in”. Around 150 people attended with “balloons, streamers, flares and fireworks, protesting about the treatment of gay people in Britain.” This event is now widely interpreted as providing the “roots” for the subsequent Pride march on 1 July 1972.


On 1 July 1972, organised primarily by the London branch of the GLF, the UK’s first Pride march was held in London. A date that was chosen as the closest Saturday to the anniversary of the Stonewall riots of 28 June 1969. The march’s route went from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park and approximately 1,000 to 2,000 people attended.

Pride today

Pride marches were held across the UK in the following years. Pride was not owned by a single organisation, and this meant that it was not consistently held throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Events would begin to be regularly held in major cities throughout the 1990s. For instance, Brighton Pride, though originating in 1973, began to be organised on a yearly basis in 1991. Pride Scotland ’95 was Scotland’s first large-scale pride event; Birmingham Pride was officially launched in 1997.

Liverpool was the largest major city to not have an ‘official’ annual Pride until its council-affiliated Pride march was established in 2010.

London Pride 2022, the 50th anniversary of the event, was attended by more than a million people. Pride celebrations were also held for the first time in Shetland and Clacton-on-Sea.

This debate pack provides a brief background for the debate, related Parliamentary proceedings, and news material. 

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