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Celebrating 2SLGBTQIA+ Pride

Stories | 06.03.21

June is recognized as Pride Month in the U.S. and in Canada, and in countries around the world. It is a time to honor the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the activists who have been instrumental in the continued fight for 2SLGBTQIA+ rights, visibility, and equality. It is also a time for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to come together to celebrate diversity, uniqueness, self-affirmation, and self-expression.

Pride Month is celebrated via parades and other events throughout the summer across the U.S. and Canada. We recognize that some events will be virtual again this year, so we want to share ways to celebrate, support, and take action, both virtually and in-person.

We also want to share resources and advocacy actions to fight against hate and discrimination and promote inclusion and equality for all. We encourage the Adler University community across campuses to learn, support, and take action.


The first Pride was a protest. The Stonewall Uprising began on June 28, 1969, when police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club on Christopher Street in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Raids like this were common as police enforced many anti-LGBTQ laws and regulations. Patrons and neighbors were fed up with this targeted policing happening across the country and fought back. The raid sparked six days of protests and clashes with law enforcement and is known as a tipping point and catalyst for the modern gay rights movement in the U.S. Learn more about the Stonewall Uprising from HISTORY and the Library of Congress and about the gay rights movement throughout history.

One year later, the first Pride march in New York City took place on June 28, 1970, to commemorate the anniversary of the uprising and was known as Christopher Street Liberation Day. Around 3-5,000 marchers participated in the inaugural New York City celebration. Today, millions of LGBTQ+ people and allies gather in June to march and celebrate Pride across the country and world. Pride Day is on June 28 on the anniversary of Stonewall, but Pride is celebrated throughout the month of June and on different days in different communities. Learn more about the history of Pride from the Library of Congress and Them.


We celebrate the individuals who were on the frontlines of the Stonewall Uprising and beginning Pride celebrations and have paved the way for future celebrations and social change. We especially want to recognize the BIPOC activists and leaders who are not always acknowledged for their significant contributions to the fight for 2SLGBTQIA+ rights, equality, and liberation.

Marsha P. Johnson (1945 – 1992)

Marsha P. Johnson, co-founder of the Street Transvestite Activist Revolutionaries (STAR), was a self-identified drag queen, performer, and influential trans and LGBTQ+ rights activist. Though often forgotten as one of the leaders, Johnson played a pivotal role in the Stonewall Uprising and continued fight for LGBTQ rights.

Her drive for creating a community for transgender youth came after her participation in the Stonewall Uprising when she attended rallies and meetings for the Gay Liberation Front and noticed that transgender people were often left out of the conversation.

STAR, founded by her and Sylvia Rivera, offered a safe haven for transgender and gender non-conforming people. In 2019, a statue was created in her and Rivera’s honor, the first monument to honor trans women in New York City.

Read more from Women and the American Story.


Sylvia Rivera (1951 – 2002)

At the time of the Stonewall Uprising, Sylvia Rivera had already been involved in activism in the Black Liberation and the peace movement. She was a patron of the Stonewall Inn the night of the raid and participated in the protests for six nights, refusing to leave.

When Pride parades began taking place, Rivera and other transgender people were excluded and discriminated against, which made her more passionate to advocate for transgender rights.

After founding STAR with Marsha Johnson, Rivera would go on to fight against the exclusion of transgender people from the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, which passed in 2002.

Read more from the National Women’s History Museum.



Brenda Howard (1946 – 2005)

Brenda Howard, known as “The Mother of Pride,” was a pioneering bisexual activist who was instrumental in starting the first pride parades. She was an active participant in the Gay Liberation Front and Gay Activists Alliance and was friends with many people involved in the Stonewall Uprising.

She organized a rally to commemorate the one-month Stonewall anniversary and then, with a committee, planned Gay Pride Week and the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade for the one-year anniversary. These events evolved into the annual New York City Pride march and helped spark later pride celebrations around the world.

Read more from Them.


Gilbert Baker (1951 – 2017)

Gilbert Baker was a world-famous political activist, designer, and flag maker who created the Rainbow Flag, which lives on as a universal symbol of the LGBTQ+ movement. After completing his military service and was discriminated against as a gay man, Baker created banners and flags for anti-war and pro-gay marches and created the Rainbow Flag at the suggestion of friends, including Harvey Milk.

The flag made its first appearance in 1978 at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. Throughout his life, Baker continued creating flags, banners, and art, receiving numerous accolades, and often serving as grand marshal for LGBTQ pride events.

Read more from the Gilbert Baker Foundation.

Learn and Support

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Community Events

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Organizations to follow and support

  • Brave Space Alliance – The first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ+ Center located on the South Side of Chicago, dedicated to creating and providing affirming, culturally competent resources, programming, and services.
  • Center on Halsted – Community center dedicated to advancing community and securing the health and well-being of the LGBTQ people of Chicagoland.
  • Broadway Youth Center – Provides assistance, resource advocacy, mental wellness supports, and education services for LGBTQIA+ youth experiencing homelessness in Chicago.
  • Equality Illinois – Works to build a better Illinois by advancing equal treatment and full acceptance of the LGBTQ community.
  • Bisexual Queer Alliance Chicago – Seeks to educate, empower, and provide resources for bisexual and queer persons.
  • InterAct Advocates for Intersex Youth – Advocates for the human rights of children born with intersex traits.
  • QChat – Peer support association made up of peer volunteers across British Columbia and provides peer support and referral services to youth residing within the province.
  • FORGE – Helps support trans survivors of sexual assault through empowering providers and connecting survivors to healing resources.
  • Black Trans Femmes in the Arts – Creates spaces for the production and preservation of Black trans art and culture.
  • Health Initiative For Men – Vancouver non-profit society that aims to strengthen the health and well-being of GBT2Q men.
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights – Legal organization advancing the civil rights of all LGBTQ people and families.
  • Affinity Community Services – A social justice organization serving the needs of the Black LGBTQ+ community with a particular focus on Black women.
  • Rainbow Foundation of Hope – Fundraises to financially support a network of Canadian charities to assist LGBT+ refugee sponsorship and newcomer resettlement services.
  • Sher Vancouver – Provides support through education and outreach to South Asian members of the LGBTQ+ community and their friends, families, and allies.
  • Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement – Works at local and national levels to achieve the collective liberation of trans, queer, and gender nonconforming Latinxs


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