Pride Celebrations Are Decades Old, but 2021 Will Still Have Some Firsts

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From colorful baseball team logos to Vice President Kamala Harris’s historic appearance at a Pride parade, officials and organizations are paying tribute to the L.G.B.T.Q. community in new ways.

Long Beach, Calif., unveiled its new lifeguard tower striped in rainbow colors for L.G.B.T.Q. Pride Month on June 15. It replaced a tower that was burned down by vandals in March.
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Johnny Diaz

June 24, 2021

Pride celebrations in June — with their marches, parades and parties — can trace their histories back to a fiery street demonstration in 1970, the year after a violent uprising at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan that galvanized the modern gay rights movement.

For years, attendees have sported bright clothing and carried the rainbow flag, an international symbol of gay pride.

But even five decades later, there are still some Pride firsts. Here is a look at some of them.

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A modified version of the San Francisco Giants logo on the sleeve of Antoan Richardson, first-base coach for the team.
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The San Francisco Giants revealed a Pride-inspired version of their logo on June 1, becoming the first Major League Baseball team to incorporate Pride colors into its on-field uniforms, the organization said.

Players wore patches with the modified logo on the right sleeve of their home jersey and custom caps featuring the same logo. The team debuted it at a June 5 home game against the Chicago Cubs. (The Giants won, 4-3.)

“We are extremely proud to stand with the L.G.B.T.Q.+ community as we kick off one of the best annual celebrations in San Francisco by paying honor to the countless achievements and contributions of all those who identify as L.G.B.T.Q.+,” Larry Baer, the Giants president and chief executive, said in a statement.

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Vice President Kamala Harris made history again when she attended Capital Pride in Washington on June 12, making her the first sitting U.S. vice president to march at a Pride event. She was joined by her husband, Doug Emhoff.

Wearing a salmon-hued blazer over a white “Love Is Love” shirt, Ms. Harris waved to attendees and wished them “Happy Pride!”

“We need to make sure that our transgender community and our youth are all protected,” she told the crowd. “We need, still, protections around employment and housing. There is so much more work to do, and I know we are committed.”

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Credit...Larry Morris/The New York Times

President Biden is not the first occupant of the White House to issue a proclamation celebrating L.G.B.T. Americans. But he is the first to include the word “queer” in one, as he did in a recent proclamation naming June 2021 “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month.”

The inclusion of the word is only the latest example — if an exceptionally high-profile one — of the term’s striking evolution over the years, from gay slur to badge of honor.

Jason Ruiz, an associate professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame, recalled volunteering with the Queer Student Cultural Center as an undergraduate in the 1990s.

“We used to get visits from older alumni who were mystified and sometimes angry about our use of the word ‘queer,’” he said. “Boy, how times have changed.”

“I see the deployment of ‘queer’ in the proclamation as a way to include people who might not fit so easily into the G.L.B.T. categories,” the professor added. “Inclusion is lovely.”

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On June 2, Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm flew the Progress Pride flag for the first time over the department. The Progress Pride flag — a modification of the traditional Pride flag — adds to the familiar rainbow field a chevron of black and brown stripes, meant to represent L.G.B.T.Q. people of color, as well as pink, white and light blue, meant to represent transgender and nonbinary people.

“We proudly stand in solidarity and allyship with the LGBTQ+ community,” she said on Twitter.

And on June 14, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland raised the Progress Pride flag for the first time over her department.

“Today we celebrate love,” she said on Twitter.

Miami-Dade County also raised its first Progress Pride flag at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center — a signal that the county’s Pride celebration “includes everyone, especially L.G.B.T.Q.+ people of color and the trans community,” Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.

In Israel, the Foreign Ministry raised a traditional Pride flag for the first time at its Jerusalem headquarters.

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Credit...Dinko Mitic

On June 10, Haddon Township, a community of some 15,000 residents in South Jersey, held its first Pride parade. More than 1,000 people marched, many carrying signs reading “Love Is Love.”

The parade, which kicked off several days of events, featured more than 50 civic groups and entertainers including local drag queens and high school marching bands to support the township’s L.G.B.T.Q. community.

“They say small towns are where change happens and we believe that Haddon Township has created positive momentum for not only our L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+ community, but the community as a whole,” Isis Williams, president of the Haddon Township Equity Initiative, which worked with the township on the Pride events, said in an email.

Around the country, other localities including Healdsburg, Calif.; Tehama County, Calif.; and Hanover, Pa., are also holding inaugural Pride celebrations, according to organizers.

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Credit...A Kids Book About

This month, four teenage authors published their first books on being transgender and nonbinary, aiming to help prompt conversations about identity among children, their parents and caregivers.

The GenderCool Project, an online campaign that highlights positive stories about transgender and nonbinary young people, worked with the publisher A Kids Book About to publish the three books.

One of them, “A Kids Book About Being Non-Binary,” was written to give young people “a positive look at what their future can look like,” said Hunter Chinn-Raicht, the author of the book.

Sheelagh McNeill contributed research.

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