Pride Week

This year’s Pride Week is March 31-April 5

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History

The June 1969 “Stonewall Rebellion” against police – led by mostly young working class, youth of color, Puerto Rican and Black drag queens – at the Stonewall bar on New York City’s Christopher Street, is often thought of as marking the beginning of modern gay liberation in the U.S. In the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, police had extorted money from the owners of nightclubs that served gay folks. They often raided the clubs to demonstrate their muscle, arresting the patrons, publishing their names, and sometimes beating or raping them in custody. For the first time ever, instead of passively accepting the police brutality, the patrons fought back.

A year later, activists in other cities were thinking of ways to make the anniversary. During the 1970s various groups began to observe Pride Day, on weekends in June. Today, the holiday is celebrated as the anniversary of the modern movement for the human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

In our Northern Virginia and DC area, pride celebrations include Youth Pride, Black Pride, Leather Pride, the Dyke March, and Capital Pride.

University campuses vary widely in whether, how, and when they organize LGBT Pride observances. Here at Mason, Pride Week takes place in early April (close to the end of Spring semester, but prior to June when many students are off campus for the summer). Our activities include speakers and performers, panel discussions, dances, poetry readings and open mic events, and our annual Drag Show.