Christopher Street Day is celebrated every year on June 28. Often known as C.S.D., the day is a celebration of the L.G.B.T. community taking place in a variety of cities throughout the world — they join together to celebrate themselves, as well as to raise awareness of the L.G.B.T. community in society. In some places, it is held on the final Saturday of the month. It has been observed since 1970 and is the forerunner of Gay Pride Day. A typical Christopher Street Day Parade includes floats as well as walking groups, which are usually provided by and made up of members of L.G.B.T. organizations. However, as floats by political parties and commercially sponsored trucks become more common, the parade is increasingly being used as a platform for political campaigning and commercial advertising.
History of Christopher Street Day
Christopher Street Day began in New York in 1969 as a reaction by gays against police assault that was both aggressive and cruel. It constantly came back to extraordinarily bloody raids by the state authorities in the previous gay zone of Greenwich Village, which then proliferated bars that were frequented by gays. The pub Stonewall was raided violently by the police on June 28, 1969, resulting in major guest protests. The encounter with the police and the ensuing street fighting brought the city to a halt for days, giving birth to Christopher Street Day. This is because the legal system deemed the L.G.B.T. lifestyle to be unlawful and regularly aided homosexual institutions, as well as imposing harsh penalties for engaging in homosexual activities. At the time, participating in homosexual conduct might result in an arrest and a penalty ranging from five years to life in prison.
In commemoration of the Stonewall Rebellion, Christopher Street Liberation Day and Christopher Street West Association, both based in New York and Los Angeles, founded the event on June 28, 1970, and organized some of the earliest Gay Pride parades in American history. Gay Pride Week was formed the week before Christopher Street Day to broaden the celebration for all members of the L.G.B.T. community.
Christopher Street Day is still observed on the last Saturday of June in both New York and Los Angeles. However, the celebration has spread throughout Europe to honor the L.G.B.T.Q. people. Christopher Street Day is first marked in Switzerland in 1978. Berlin, Germany, began commemorating the day on annual basis in 1979.
Christopher Street Day timeline
Stonewall Rebellion is marked by multiple spontaneous rallies by members of the L.G.B.T. community — many of which end in violence.
In commemoration of the Stonewall Rebellion, Christopher Street Day starts the event on June 28, 1970, and organizes some of the earliest Gay Pride Parades in American history.
The holiday is honored in Switzerland, as well as Berlin and Germany, which begin commemorating the day on an annual basis.
The United States Supreme Court makes same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.
Christopher Street Day FAQs
Why is June designated as Pride Month?
In the United States, June is L.G.B.T. Pride Month to remember the Stonewall riots, which happened at the end of June 1969. As a result, many pride activities are held throughout this month to honor the contributions of L.G.B.T. individuals to the globe.
Are Pride March and Christopher Street Day different?
It is the same, it’s still part of Pride Month, with different types of events each day.
What sparked the Stonewall riots?
The goal was to protest the plight of L.G.B.T. people in Cuba as well as employment discrimination in the United States. These pickets astonished many homosexual people and enraged members of Mattachine’s and the D.O.B. (Daughters of Bilitis)’s leadership.
Christopher Street Day Activities
Join the parade
Today’s Christopher Street Day parade is not a simple, repetitive, political rally. Rather, it is a colorful array of groups, associations, and organizations that rise from hard-won freedom for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people.
Wave the rainbow flag
Another custom is for people to wave the rainbow flag or wear apparel with the design on this holiday. The rainbow flag represents the self-esteem felt by members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community, as well as peace and tolerance.
Dress up in many costumes
The entire parade sparkles in a thousand colors and a wide range of costumes and clothing. From dazzling and colorfully costumed drag queens to long-haired guys, the gay football team is as good as anything depicted.
5 Interesting Facts About Pride March
Act of courage
New York's First Pride March was a brave act — since back then, believing in homosexuality was a sin, a disease, and a crime — and gay people were considered subhuman.
Mother of pride
Brenda Howard, a bisexual woman, is a lifelong militant organizer dubbed as the "Mother of Pride" for her role in organizing the Christopher Street Day March.
Numerous interpretations of the rainbow flag
Sexuality is represented by hot pink, the color red denotes life, orange is associated with healing, sunlight is represented by yellow, green symbolizes nature, turquoise is associated with magic and art, and indigo is associated with tranquillity, and violet symbolizes the spirit.
Largest rainbow flag
Gilbert Baker was commissioned to create the world's largest rainbow flag for the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in 1994.
Largest pride parade
With 2.5 million attendees, the “Guinness Book of World Records” dubbed Sao Paulo's parade the largest Gay Pride celebration in the world in 2006.
Why We Love Christopher Street Day
It is open to all
Christopher Street Day is a time the L.G.B.T.Q.+ community gets together to celebrate the embrace of sexual variety, but that doesn’t mean you can’t participate if you’re not a part of the community. Be an ally!
It raises awareness about L.G.B.T.Q. issues
It's also a great opportunity to think about and discuss topics relating to the gay rights movement, especially because it's receiving greater media exposure at the moment — from gay marriage and adoption to transgender rights. Despite significant progress toward equality in recent years, we all still have a long way to go.
It’s about acceptance
Acceptance, equality, and commemorating the efforts of L.G.B.T.Q.+ people are all about parts of Christopher Street Day. It’s about being proud of who you are, whoever you love.
Christopher Street Day dates