Pride month has begun, which this year is quite different. Due to the virus outbreak, many Prides across the world have been cancelled, including Baltic Pride. However, we will have a small-scale mostly online event on 22-27 June in the form of Baltic Pride 2020: The Safe and Special Edition.
Pride can mean something different to each person, but the main reasons we hold it dear is because it brings the community together, it gives us the chance to make ourselves heard and visible, and it is a stand against injustice.
Pride didn't just appear out of nowhere and unfortunately the reason for its creation wasn't a happy one, although many Prides have by now become large celebrations. Pride was born out of a stand against violence committed against the LGBT+ community by the police. This, in turn, was happening with the approval or silent disregard of the society at large.
In 1969, LGBT+ people at the Stonewall Inn in New York fought back against police brutality. The incident grew into riots, uniting people who had been suffering an injustice their entire lives and who were carrying the traumas of past generations on their shoulders.
Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera (right), Stormé DeLarverie
The Stonewall riots were led by black people and people of colour, such as Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Stormé DeLarverie, who protected their community and also actively fought for the rights and wellbeing of homeless people, people with AIDS, and other most vulnerable members of the LGBT+ community. Although our world is such in which white people reap the most benefits, these achievements are often ignited by others, the most vulnerable, and yet the most courageous.
Pride was a riot, Pride was an uprising. Let's remember this when we celebrate Pride and everything we have achieved. Let's remember this when we witness the events across the ocean as well as in our own backyards. Let our history be the inspiration for our future. No one is free until everyone is free.
Baltic Pride in Tallinn 2017. Photos: Joosep Nahkor