LGBT is an acronym meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. The term sometimes is extended to LGBTQ, or even LGBTQIA, to include queer, intersex and asexual groups. Queer is an umbrella term for non-straight people; intersex refers to those whose sex is not clearly defined because of genetic, hormonal or biological differences; and asexual describes those who don't experience sexual attraction. These terms may also include gender fluid people, or those whose gender identity shifts over time or depending on the situation.
The commemorative month is meant to recognize the sweeping impact that LGBTQIA+ people, advocates and allies have on history in the United States and around the globe.
In the early hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village and began hauling customers outside. Tensions quickly escalated as patrons resisted arrest and a growing crowd of bystanders threw bottles and coins at the officers. New York's gay community, fed up after years of harassment by authorities, broke out in neighborhood riots that went on for three days.
The uprising became a catalyst for an emerging gay rights movement and organizations such as the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance were formed, modeled after the civil rights movement and the women's rights movement. Members held protests, met with political leaders and interrupted public meetings to hold those leaders accountable. A year after the Stonewall riots, the nation's first Gay Pride marches were held.
In 2019 the area around the Stonewall Inn, still a popular nightspot today, was designated a national monument.
It’s credited to Brenda Howard, a bisexual New York activist nicknamed the “Mother of Pride,” who organized the first Pride parade to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.
Pride Month events draw millions of participants from around the world each year. Parades and related events are held each year in hundreds of cities around the world. Many of these celebrations are held in late June to commemorate Stonewall, and festivities include marches, parties, concerts, film festivals, 5ks, workshops and musical theater performances.
In 1978, artist and designer Gilbert Baker was commissioned by San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk -- one of the first openly gay elected officials in the US -- to make a flag for the city's upcoming Pride celebrations. Baker, a prominent gay rights activist and U.S. Army veteran, gave a nod to the stripes of the American flag but drew inspiration from the rainbow to reflect the many groups within the gay community.
Baker died at the age of 65 on March 31, 2017, though his rainbow flag remains and iconic, powerful symbol for LGBTQIA+ Pride.
Amit Paley is CEO of The Trevor Project, guiding the organization in its mission to end suicide among LGBTQ youth. A passionate social impact leader, he transformed Trevor to operate like a startup, with the staff and tech to support it through a strong growth period.
Amit oversaw the build of a new tech platform that allows Trevor to deliver crisis services via phone, text, chat and social media, and took its digital crisis services 24/7 for the first time in 21 years.
He also dramatically increased the impact of Trevor’s programs. The organization now operates the largest grassroots campaign in the world to end conversion therapy; overhauled TrevorSpace into the largest safe-space social networking site for LGBTQ youth; and expanded its research and clinical expertise, hiring the first psychiatrist and psychologists in its history. Learn more
Barbara Poma, owner of Pulse Nightclub, was raised in Coral Springs, Florida. She graduated from the University of Central Florida and worked as an educator in the Orange County Public School system for three years. Ms. Poma has built and operated several businesses, most significantly Pulse Nightclub, which was established in 2004 as a tribute to her brother John who passed away from HIV/AIDs.
On June 12, 2016, Pulse Nightclub became the scene of one of the nation’s worst mass shooting in modern American history. Since then, Barbara has shifted her focus to preserving the memory of those who lost their lives, survivors, and their loved ones. She now serves as Executive Director of OnePulse Foundation, Inc. which has been established to oversee a community initiative to create a permanent memorial to Pulse and those who perished. Learn more.
Athlete Ally educates and activates athletic communities to eliminate homophobia and transphobia in sports, and to use their platforms to speak out for LGBTQ equality. The program was founded by Hudson Taylor, a three-time All-American wrestler at the University of Maryland. Since its founding, Athlete Ally has attracted more than 150 professional and Olympic athletes as Ambassadors of the organization; has 50+ college and universities with student-run Athlete Ally chapters; and continues to leverage their partnerships with athletes, teams and leagues to advance their impact on LGBTQ public policy efforts. Learn more.
The Matthew Shepard Foundation’s longstanding mission is to erase hate by replacing it with understanding, compassion and acceptance. Through local, regional and national outreach, we empower individuals to find their voice to create change and challenge communities to identify and address hate that lives within their schools, neighborhoods and homes.
Our work is an extension of Matt’s passion to foster a more caring and just world. We share his story and embody his vigor for civil rights to change the hearts and minds of others to accept everyone as they are. Learn more.
GLSEN (pronounced "glisten") was founded in 1990 by a small, but dedicated group of teachers in Massachusetts who came together to improve an education system that too frequently allows its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) students to be bullied, discriminated against, or fall through the cracks. Over 25 years later, that small group has grown into the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for LGBTQ students. Learn more.
Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. Learn more.
Born This Way Foundation is committed to supporting the wellness of young people, and empowering them to create a kinder and braver world. Learn more.
The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS. NBJC’s mission is to end racism, homophobia, and LGBTQ/SGL bias and stigma. As America’s leading national Black LGBTQ/SGL civil rights organization focused on federal public policy, NBJC has accepted the charge to lead Black families in strengthening the bonds and bridging the gaps between the movements for racial justice and LGBTQ/SGL equality. Learn more.