NEW CUMBERLAND, Pennsylvania –
Celebrating its 16th year as a Federally-recognized month of pride, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month originated in the U.S. in 1994.
Founded by a Missouri high-school teacher, the idea was to have a month dedicated to the diversity of America’s citizens, rededicate the nation to equality and encourage honesty and openness among the LGBT community.
The month of October was first chosen as the celebratory month, as National Coming Out Day had already been established as October 11, and the month also commemorated the first march on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual equal rights and liberation by LGBT people in 1979.
In June 2000, however, President Bill Clinton declared June as the official Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. June was formally chosen as the month in honor of the Stonewall Riots, a series of violent demonstrations by members of the LGBT community, protesting a police raid that took place in June 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan. The raid was seen as harassment and a rejection of the LGBT community and was the catalyst for the Gay Liberation movement.
The official name was changed in 2009, when President Barack Obama declared June “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month” to be more inclusive.
This year, the Department of Defense has chosen the theme of “Celebration” to commemorate the month. In keeping with this theme, President Obama declared the Stonewall Inn and its surrounding area the Stonewall National Monument on June 28, formally recognizing the sites history.
In a proclamation announcing the monument, President Obama wrote “From this place and time, building on the work of many before, the nation started the march — not yet finished — toward securing equality and respect for L.G.B.T. people.”