By Brady McGill
Photography by Vanessa Dubois

The first Pride was a riot. Trans and gender-nonconforming individuals, people of color, and LGBT individuals in New York had had enough, and they stood up. They fought the Police and systems of oppression in the streets outside the bar “Stonewall Inn.” The insurrection continued for the next several nights. These uprisings made significant headlines and rippled throughout the globe, with similar fights happening in England and across the United States. The first Pride Parade was a march commemorating these violent days in a peaceful and powerful way, showing numbers and organizations while remembering the past and building a better future for the community, “out of the closet.”

Today, LGBTQIA+ movements have diversified into many causes and organizations seeking the same goals as those who fought on the first nights of the Stonewall riots. For the most part, organizations within the LGBTQIA+ advancement umbrella fall into a few key categories; Centers – offering services to the community; Healthcare – offering health and wellness services; Pride Organizations – presenting parades, festivals, other events, engagement, and uplifting focuses. Typically, these groups organize into networks and share experiences from a local to a global level.

There are a variety of groups operating in social justice and human rights. Still more work in healthcare, outreach, education, and care for seniors and those underserved. While these are all part of our beautiful rainbow, not all are PRIDE.

Las Vegas PRIDE amplifies the voice of the LGBTQIA+ community of Southern Nevada. We uplift the community through ongoing events. We celebrate our diversity at our annual PRIDE Parade and PRIDE Festival. We tell our stories through our Magazine, website, and social media. With over 60,000 unique visits per month to our site and Magazine, over 20,000 in-person attendees to our events, and the largest Parade in Nevada with over 100 entries, we are visible, we are organized, we are impactful, and our stories become a part of the fabric of our community.

While remembering the Stonewall Riots on June 28, 1969, impacts celebrations of Pride in June, Las Vegas PRIDE hosts our annual Parade and Festival in October, coinciding with LGBTQIA+ History Month and National Coming Out Day.

National Coming Out Day (NCOD) was first celebrated in 1988, on October 11, in remembrance of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights (which gained the first national attention for the Act Up movement) and the First National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on October 14, 1979. This celebration is rooted in peaceful protest, showing numbers and demonstrating that LGBTQIA+ individuals are connected to everyone. The recurrence of activity in October led to the acknowledgment of LGBTQIA+ History Month both in the US and abroad.

Weather also plays a factor in Las Vegas PRIDE celebrations, June events outdoors are typically too hot, so we opt for embracing our ability to celebrate together with NCOD! In fact, Las Vegas PRIDE celebrates all year long with monthly events and content ongoing throughout the year.

Las Vegas PRIDE is also a labor of love and volunteer work, with our entire Board comprised of dedicated individuals who give their time to the work we do. If you want to be involved, attend an event and speak to a Board member.

Regardless of how, where, or when you are celebrating PRIDE, know that you are part of a bigger movement for equality, equity, diversity, inclusion, and justice – and remember the spirit of PRIDE – to be authentic, to celebrate freely, and to be uplifted for who you are and the achievements you contribute to our beautiful rainbow world!

Las Vegas PRIDE Magazine - Issue 45

This article was originally published in the 2023 PRIDE Month Issue of Las Vegas PRIDE Magazine, and can be read in its original format here.