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Saluting Stonewall: Nationwide Prides Mark the Uprising's 50th Anniversary

by Jill Gleeson
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Jun 4, 2019
Denver Pride
Denver Pride  (Source:Matthew Wexler)

The Stonewall Uprising and its subsequent effect on the past 50 years of LGBTQ rights are about a lot more than the Big Apple. If you're looking to honor the moment when the fight for queer rights got real and can't make it to New York City for WorldPride this June, don't fret.

Cities across the country are commemorating the 50th anniversary throughout the summer. From Boston to San Diego, Richmond to Portland, Prides will be themed around the uprising, with plenty of special events including concerts, art and history exhibits, lectures, panel discussions and more exploring and extolling the history of LGBTQ liberation.

According to The Center on Colfax Vice President of Communications and Corporate Giving Rex Fuller, the LGBTQ organization has been "celebrating the 50th anniversary of Stonewall all year long." But things are really heating up in advance of Denver PrideFest on June 15 and 16, with the installation of a community collage art project, free art classes and the unveiling of a sculpture in Civic Center Park, all inspired by the six nights in June freedom fighters spent clashing with the police outside Greenwich Village's Stonewall Inn.

The special events will continue past summer, too, with a Day of the Dead exhibit recognizing 50 heroes of the LGBTQ civil rights movement on display from September through November. "This has been an amazing opportunity for our community to take a deep dive into LGBTQ history," says Fuller of the Stonewall anniversary, "and learn more about our rich heritage of activists who have helped make our community possible today."

Click here for more Denver details.

Boston Pride  (Source:Marilyn Humphries)

Boston Pride, which will take place May 31 - June 11, is marking Stonewall's half-century anniversary not only with a diverse series of events, but also by this year's theme: "Looking Back. Loving Forward." It's a tribute richly deserved, says Don Gorton, chair of the Stonewall50 Boston Pride Committee. "Stonewall 50 represents the achievement of the unified LGBTQ community in creating transformative social change. The Boston Pride Committee invites LGBTQ people and our allies to participate in this momentous Golden Anniversary."

On June 3, there will be a community forum with panelists and speakers including Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, former Obama White House Aide and Director of External Relations for the National Center for Transgender Equality, discussing the significance of Stonewall and the future of the LGBTQ movement. Other special programs going on throughout June include a concert, movie screening and author talks.

Philly Pride  (Source:Patrick Hagerty)

The City of Brotherly Love will fete one of the defining moments in the struggle for LGBTQ civil rights with a Pride themed around "Stonewall 50" on June 9. This year's Pride, which organizers believe will the biggest in the city's history, will include the traditional festival at Penn's Landing as well as a parade along Market Street that will feature floats that reflect the Stonewall anniversary.

"We salute our history, the visionaries and leaders who have taken us to where we are today," says Franny Price, executive director of Philly Pride Presents. "From protest to celebration, we look forward to what the future will bring."

Other cities planning special events in honor of Stonewall's 50th include Portland, Oregon, which will host Pride Northwest June 15 and 16. On June 22, Portland Gay Men's Chorus will present "Stonewall Riot! Soundtrack To a Revolution", featuring songs from artists who defined the late 1960s, including Marvin Gaye, the Beatles, Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones.

In Richmond, VA PrideFest will celebrate the anniversary September 28 with a "Rise Up!" theme, and special events like movies screenings throughout June.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Pride, which will be held June 7-9, will unveil a permanent art installation with the theme "NYC to PGH: 50 Years After Stonewall" on June 28.

In San Diego, Pride will recognize the rebellion with the theme "Stonewall 50: A Legacy of Liberation," including a Spirit of Stonewall Rally on July 12, a parade on the 13th and the festival on the 14th and 15th.

Jill Gleeson is a travel and adventure journalist based in the Appalachians of Central Pennsylvania. Find her on Facebook and Twitter at @gopinkboots.

Spring 2019

This story is part of our special report titled "Spring 2019." Want to read more? Here's the full list.


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