LGBTQ+ Pride Month commemorates the pursuit of equal justice and the celebration of the accomplishments of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, pansexual and two-spirit communities and their allies.
Pride Month is recognized in June to remember the Stonewall Riots that occurred on June 28, 1968. On this day in New York City, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gathering place for the LGBTQ+ community. They arrested employees and customers, arguing that the gathering of LGBTQ+ was “disorderly,”—at the time, engaging in behavior such as holding hands or kissing someone of the same sex, was illegal. This lead to a six-day riot and protests in response. The event inspired gay rights activists and their allies to speak out.
On the same day next year, thousands of people gathered on Christopher Street in New York City for what was to become the first gay pride march. This marked the beginning of annual celebrations, marches, and parades to celebrate, fight for, and honor those in the LGBTQ+ community.
Rochester, New York began celebrating Pride Month within the first few years of the Stonewall Riots, with our first local event occurring on May 16th, 1971. The Rochester Gay Liberation Front organized a 300+ person sit-in, calling it a “gay-in” at Genesee Valley Park. A year later, the community renamed the gathering to the “annual gay community picnic.”
17 years later, in July 1982, Rochester hosted its first local Pride Parade to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and continue the fight for equal rights. The parade started at Genesee Crossroads Park and headed down East Main Street towards the Liberty Pole.
In 1996, the celebration expanded with the addition of a same-day Pride Festival that began after the parade. Moving locations throughout the years, the festival added to the day’s festivities to honor those in the LGBTQ+ community.
In 2014, media organization Voactiv ranked Rochester among the top 10 LGBTQ-friendly cities in the United States.
Because Rochester’s Pride celebration is so rich, one month is not enough. Each year, Rochester extends Pride festivities into the second week of July, giving time to surrounding towns and cities to come experience Pride Month in the Flower City.
Rochester celebrates Pride Month each year with parades, gatherings, festivals and more. In addition to Rochester Regional Health, a variety of local organizations support the mission to welcome, educate, and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community in Rochester, such as FLX Pride in Geneva, and the Batavia Pride Festival.
"As the Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at RRH, I proudly stand with the LGBTQ+ community and support our patients, employees, and community members regardless of how they identify or whom they love. This year, we are recognizing and celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride Month as a system-wide initiative," said Ebony Caldwell, Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at Rochester Regional Health.
"Although we celebrate Pride in June, we stand on our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion every day."
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