What is Pride?

Why being inclusive to members of the Pride community is important


Wikimedia Commons Equality March in Katowice

A sea of people fought for their existence on June 28, 1970 with marches, riots, protests, screams, yells, anger and passion.

Now, they celebrate with joy, energy, love, color, life and a partying celebration.

Pride has evolved demonstrated in the first Pride parade in 2022 to start out Pride month this June. Celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, pride month honors the gay liberation of the 60s and the fight for the right to be recognized and exist without persecution.

A pivotal point in the movement occurred in Manhattan, New York in 1969 after a police raid on one of the largest gay bars turned into a major protest.

The Stonewall Uprising, which derives its name from the Stonewall Inn it occurred in, happened when queer people were arrested for gathering as well as the raiding of gay bars throughout the country. The Stonewall riots were so impactful that they could not be silenced.

Queer people were able to finally show the world that they were not going to back down – they are here.

Following these riots, the gay rights movement advanced dramatically. New organizations were formed across the U.S., the movement made it into newspapers and police raids gradually slowed to a halt.

The first Pride march, or gay liberation march, was organized by activists the next year to celebrate the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and to ensure the world knew the queer community was not going anywhere.

Pride Month was not officially recognized until 1994, but it has become a national event throughout the country since. Even to this day, Pride faces national backlash from large numbers of people.

“Hearing things like, ‘Why do gays need a whole month?’ or, ‘Stop shoving your gay-ness down our throats,’ is super common,” 18-year-old Mt. SAC student Anthony Rojano said. “It’s really sad, but it just goes to show that we need Pride. Something as simple as celebrating who you are in the face of adversity and your community’s history provoking so much anger and hate is appalling.”

Rojano, who is a gay cisgendered male (he/him), added that he experienced firsthand many interactions that he felt were homophobic. They involve people speaking directly to him, about someone else or on major scales in the media.

“Prejudices towards all queer people are way more prevalent than you’d think,” he added. “Most straight, cisgendered people never even notice.”

Rojano said that typically cishet people, or cisgendered heterosexual people, tend to dismiss or belittle the gravity of queerphobia that is shown throughout the world today.

“It’s not even just me, so many people who feel like no one cares if someone is homophobic or transphobic – even if they explicitly say hateful slurs towards queer people,” he said. “Pride is a time where we can make ourselves heard, and it’s a time where none of us care if the straights don’t care.”

Another 18-year-old Mt. SAC student, Spencer Howard, is a cishet male who has had “more experience with the LGBT than most straight people.”

Howard is close with someone who is gay and has been there with him during his whole journey and the different experiences they went through.

“One of my best friends who has been in my life for a really long time has been through so much,” Howard said. “I love Pride because he just gets so clearly happy. He has so much pride. When I think of what Pride is, I think of him. I’m proud of him, and he is proud of himself, and all the gay people, and he should be! Everyone should be!”

Howard considers himself an LGBTQ+ ally. An ally is someone who not only stands with the queer community, but stands up for them and actively supports them.

“Even though I know gay people are doing wonderful things on their own, everyone needs allies,” he said. “It helps, you know? Sometimes just having someone listen and be there for you can be the difference between life and death for people.”

Someone can be an ally to queer people through various ways.

There does not have to be a grand gesture. Giving positive responses when a queer person talks about their lives instead of making them feel unnatural can be helpful.

Large scale support includes volunteering at gay organizations and shelters, donating to queer organizations and charities, participating in protests and activism and standing against queerphobia when it occurs.

Ways to support the Pride community can be found right on campus.

Mt. SAC is one of the only community colleges in all of California that has its own Pride Center. Despite Pride Month only lasting the duration of June, the Pride Center is open and active throughout the entire year. Many students need this space to be themselves safely and have a queer space in their life.

An 18-year-old member of the Pride Center, herein referred to as Amber Ortega, described the Pride Center as a place where she could finally let go and be herself.

“I am a bisexual woman,” she said. “Until I started coming to the Pride Center, I was not able to fully embrace that side of me.”

Ortega’s family has not been the most accepting of her gender identity, and this has been very hard on her because she was raised with traditional Hispanic family values.

“I love my family, but I am still working up to coming out to them,” Ortega said. “It’s hard, and it’s scary. The Pride Center has helped tremendously.”

Ortega received free counseling at the Pride Center which helped her understand herself and figure out who she truly is. She hopes to be able to come out to her family one day now that she is more certain of her queerness.

The Pride Center offers academic counseling, social events and therapy. It is open to any and all to drop in for whatever reason regardless of sexual orientation or gender.

It is located in room 1640 of Building 26A, and it is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Pride events throughout the area are coming up soon. To find Pride events, check the IGLTA 2022 Global Gay Pride Calendar.

There are Pride parades and festivals in many different cities and days across the country to cover a wide variety of people.

“Growing up, I felt so alone,” Rojano said. “Pride tells you you’re not. Now that I’m older, I can go to Pride and it is the most amazing thing. The level of happiness and love is unmatched. I wish [a] younger me could feel these feelings too. He needed it, but now I have it.”

Rojano said a food reminder is that even though Pride is just the month of June, queer people should still be recognized and cared for 12 months a year.

Pride Month is a time where individuals can educate themselves, be reminded to be kind and accept people for who they are. Queer people are celebrated to highlight their history and show their strength in a world that often fights against them.

Cishet people are encouraged to celebrate Pride with them and be a part of it as well.

Happy Pride Month.

Editor’s Note: Amber Ortega is a pseudonym to protect the individual that was interviewed from potential backlash.