Russia's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community continues to face increasing levels of persecution in Moscow and St. Petersburg. But it was a much different story in New York on June 30, where a float representing LGBT people from Russia and other former Soviet republics made its much-anticipated debut in the annual Pride parade.
"It turned out wonderful ... I'm living my dream," Pasha Zalutski, the parade float's organizer and a Belarusian native, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). "I hope KGB's not here to slash our tires at the last moment."
RFE/RL's Richard Solash has more on the Russian LGBT Pride float here.
The float made its appearance just after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a so-called "gay propaganda" bill into law which imposes large fines on residents who "provide information" about the LGBT community to minors, The Guardian reported.
Similarly, Putin reportedly signed a law banning same-sex couples in foreign countries from adopting Russian children on July 3.
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Stonewall Inn: Ground Zero
On the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York's Greenwich Village. Although police raids on gays bars were common, the bar's patronage, as well as more than a hundred spectators who gathered outside the bar, decided enough was enough -- they fought back. It was the first time that queer people stood up to police on such a large scale, and is often cited as the beginning of the modern Gay Rights Movement. For more information on Stonewall, check out the PBS documentary, <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/stonewall/" target="_hplink">Stonewall Uprising</a>. <em>Photo via yosoynuts at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/yosoynuts/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com </a></em>
Corrupt Cops, Feeds Mafia
In 1969, Stonewall Inn, as well as the majority of the city's gay bars, was owned and operated by the New York Mafia. Establishments that sold alcohol to gay customers could have their liquor licenses revoked, so mobsters paid-off police to turn a blind-eye, thereby gaining a lucrative niche market. For more information about the Mafia's ties to Stonewall, see this <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/stonewall-mafia/" target="_hplink">PBS report </a>. <em>Photo adapted via Dr. Who at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/86931652@N00/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a></em>
Stonewall's mafioso owners reportedly engaged in extortion. Employees singled out wealthy patrons who were not public about their sexuality, and blackmailed them for large sums of money with the threat of being 'outed.' For more information about the Mafia's ties to Stonewall, see this <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/stonewall-mafia/" target="_hplink">PBS report </a>. <em>Photo via Images_of_Money at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/59937401@N07/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a> and <a href="TaxBrackets.org" target="_hplink">TaxBrackets.org</a></em>
Black Cat Tavern Riots
Two years before to the Stonewall riots, The Black Cat Tavern, a gay bar in LA, <a href="http://www.tangentgroup.org/history/BlackCat.html" target="_blank">was raided by police</a>, and much like what occurred at Stonewall, the patrons fought back and eventually began a protest against the police. Two of the patrons were so enraged, they began a publication for the gay population of Los Angeles, which eventually became one of the largest LGBT magazines, <a href="http://www.advocate.com" target="_blank">The Advocate</a>.
Although the Pride Movement did not galvanize until after the Stonewall Riots, there were a handful of gay rights demonstrations prior to 1969. The most direct link to the early parades were Annual Reminders. Every fourth of July, beginning in 1965, homophilic groups would picket Independence Hall in Philadelphia to inform and remind the American people that LGBT people did not enjoy basic civil rights protections. After Stonewall, picketing seemed too pacifistic, and Reminder organizers instead helped plan the first Gay Liberation parades. <em>Photo via ericbeato at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/ericbeato/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a></em>
The Greek Lambda symbol was another commonly used Gay Rights symbol prior to the Rainbow Flag, and was the sign of the Gay Activist Aliance. Photo via <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Greek_lc_lamda_thin.svg" target="_hplink">Wikimedia Commons</a>
The First Flag
The first rainbow flag made its debut at the San Francisco Pride Parade in 1978. Designed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker, the original flag was hand-dyed and consisted of eight symbolic colors: Hot Pink (sexuality), Red (life), Orange (healing), Yellow (sunlight), Green (nature), Turqoise (magic/art), Blue (serenity/harmony) and violet (spirit). <em>Photo via <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gay_flag_8.svg" target="_hplink">Wikimedia Commons</a> </em>
To meet increasing demand for the flag, Baker approached Paramount Flag Company for mass production. There was an unavailability of hot pink baric, so Baker dropped the hot pink stripe from the design. To keep an even number of stripes, turquoise was also dropped, resulting in the six-stripe flag that is widely used today. <em>Photo via torbakhopper at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gazeronly/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a> </em>
The First New York Dyke March
New York's first Dyke March was held in June of 1993 and is still held every year on the eve of the annual Pride March.
'Gay' Becomes Okay
The first gay rights group to use the word 'gay' in their name was the Gay Liberation Front, which was formed In the immediate wake of the Stonewall Riots. Whereas previous organizations, such as the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis, had deliberately chosen obscure names, the GLF believed directedness was necessary, as exemplified by a slogan on one of their fliers: "Do You Think Homosexuals Are Revolting? You Bet Your Sweet Ass We Are!" For more information on the GLF, check out <a href="http://www.outhistory.org/wiki/Gay_Liberation_Front" target="_hplink">this site</a>. <em>Photo via Elvert Barnes at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/perspective/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a></em>
The Pentagon's First Gay Pride
In June 2012 the Pentagon held their first Gay Pride event since "Don't Ask Don't Tell" was repealed in 2010. While the event lacked wigs and floats, and instead included a panel discussion entitled "The Value of Open Service and Diversity," it still went down in history as the first gay pride event held at the Pentagon!
Oldest LGBT Organization
The oldest surviving LGBT organization in the world is Netherland's Center for Culture and Leisure (COC), which was founded in 1946, and used a 'cover name' to mask its taboo purpose. For more information on the COC, check out their <a href="http://www.coc.nl/dopage.pl?thema=any&pagina=algemeen&algemeen_id=274" target="_hplink">site</a>. <em>Photo via Tambako the Jaguar at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/tambako/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a>.</em>
Wild in the San Francisco Woods
In 1976, San Francisco's Civic Center was undergoing renovation, and couldn't host the post-Pride parade celebrations. Instead, the festival site was moved to the Golden Gate Park. Confronted with uncharacteristically intense heat, many attendees shed most, or all, of their clothing. When the sound system failed, scantily-clad celebrators took to the woods for shade and entertainment, and the festival became one of the craziest San Francisco has ever seen. A year later, the 'Save Our Children' campaign cited the wild wood celebrations as evidence of homosexual godlessness and immorality. For a firsthand account of this, and other, Pride festivals in San Francisco, <a href="http://thecastro.net/parade/parade/parade.html" target="_hplink">click here</a>. Photo via jdnx at <a href="www.flickr.com/people/danramarch/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a> CORRECTION: <em>A previous version of this slide misidentified the "San Francisco's Civic Center" as the "San Francisco's Getty Center."</em>
The Rise of 'Pride'
Early marches commonly used 'Gay Liberation,' and 'Freedom,' in their names. Then, with cultural changes and decreased militancy in the 1980s and 1990s, these words became less frequent, and the term 'Gay Pride,' became commonly used. <em>Photo via illuminator999 at <a href="www.flickr.com/people/illuminator999/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a></em>
In 1994, Baker led the creation of a mile-long Rainbow Flag, to honor the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized it as the world's largest flag. <em>Photo via <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Thelmadatter" target="_hplink">Thelmadatter</a> at <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HugeFlagMarchaDF2.JPG" target="_hplink">Wikimedia Commons</a></em>
Island-Long Pride Flag
The longest Rainbow Flag used in a Pride celebration was unfurled in Key West, Florida, for the flag's 25th anniversary in 2003. Dubbed "25 Rainbow Sea to Sea," the 1.25 mile long flag stretched across the entire island, traveling from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. Following the celebration, the flag was cut-up and sent to Pride celebrations around the world. <em>Photo via torbakhopper at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/gazeronly/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a> </em> CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this slide misidentified the "Gulf of Mexico" as the "Gulf Coast Sea."
Pride in Sao Paulo
With an estimated 3.5 million attendees in 2011, Sao Paulo, Brazil, hosts the world's largest Pride parade. For more information about Sao Paulo Pride, check out their <a href="http://www.gaypridebrazil.org/sao-paulo/" target="_hplink">site</a>.
Europe has a pan-European international Pride event, called, appropriately, Europride. The event is hosted by a different European city each year. For information on upcoming events, check out Europride's <a href="http://www.europride.com/spip.php?rubrique1" target="_hplink">site</a>. <em>Photo via Daquellamanera at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/daquellamanera/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a> </em>
Amsterdam hosts the only Pride parade whose floats literally float on water, as 100 decorated boats travel through the city's famed canals. For information on Amsterdam Pride, check out their <a href="http://www.amsterdamgaypride.nl/" target="_hplink">site</a>. <em>Photo via cgeorgatou at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/cgeorgatou/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a></em>
Loner South Africa
South Africa is home to the only Pride celebrations on the African continent. Two of the most notable are in<a href="http://joburgpride.org/" target="_hplink"> Johannesburg</a> and <a href="http://www.capetownpride.org/" target="_hplink">Cape Town</a>. The inaugural Joburg Pride parade was held in 1990 with fewer than one thousand participants but has grown considerably throughout the years, with over 20,000 participants in 2009. <em>Photo via <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gay_Flag_of_South_Africa.svg" target="_hplink">Wikimedia Commons </a></em>
Raining on Australia's Parade
Each year before the <a href="http://www.mardigras.org.au/about-us/history/index.cfm" target="_hplink">Sydney LGBT Mardis Gras</a> is held, <a href="http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/the-power-of-one/2008/01/04/1198950075839.html" target="_hplink">Fred Nile</a>, a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council and a former minister of the Uniting Church in Australia, leads a prayer for rain on the event. Although it has rained some years, the Australian event has sustained as one of best LGBT festivals in the world. Photo via Jon Shave at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/shavejonathan/" target="_hplink">Flickr.com</a>