Pride Month is a time of joy for the LGBTQ+ community. But it’s also a reminder that those who do not conform to a heteronormative society are still the target of prejudice, whether through legislation, hate crimes, or a simple lack of acceptance.
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- When is Pride Month?
- Pride Month Origins — The Stonewall Riots
- The LGBTQ+ Community In Context
- The Largest Pride Events In The World
- Social Media and Pride – The Statistics
- How Do People Feel About #Pride?
- Companies And Pride Marketing
- Marketing: Support vs Rainbow-Washing
- How Are We Celebrating Pride 2021?
- Promising Statistics – But Still Far To Go
When is Pride Month?
Across the world, the LGBT+ community comes together every June to celebrate Pride Month. June was chosen to remember the Stonewall Riots or Uprising, which occurred in June and early July 1969.
In the USA at that time many states still classed same-sex sexual intercourse as illegal. As such, gatherings of the LGBTQ+ community were heavily policed.
Pride Month Origins — The Stonewall Riots
In 1966 the Stonewall Inn was converted into a gay bar and became a place of relative safety for gay men, and later also for lesbians and transgender people. The bar was regularly raided by police, who arrested all men dressed in drag, as well as women who did not appear “feminine” enough.
A raid on the 28th of June 1969 was met with uncharacteristic resistance by the Inn’s patrons, which led to a series of protests over the following nights. Marsha P Johnson, a black, self-identified drag queen and activist, is now recognized as a leading figure in the Stonewall Riots and went on to participate in the first Gay Pride rally in 1970.
Johnson, who died in 1992, has also been described as transgender and bisexual, and used the pronouns she/her.
The LGBTQ+ Community In Context
Being gay, gender-nonconforming or otherwise non-heteronormative is still stigmatized in many communities, although more LGBTQ+ people are coming out every year. While some nations now officially recognize Pride Month, many still classify gay relationships as illegal – 11 of which carry the potential of a death penalty for same-sex sexual relations.
The 2021 UK census has been the first to include LGBTQ+ statistics since its start in 1801. 2018 research by Stonewall (a UK organisation supporting LGBTQ+ rights) found that more than half of LGBTQ+ people had experienced depression during that year.
A Gallup poll recently revealed that 5.6% of Americans identify as LGBTQ+, an increase since the 2017 total of 4.5%.
The Largest Pride Events In The World
Pride events worldwide have grown exponentially over the past years – a few of the largest events are now:
New York (USA) – WorldPride Festival and Pride March
This was the birthplace of Pride and is now home to the largest Pride event in the world, in which millions of marchers participate. In 2019 over four million people took part in WorldPride; a series of LGBTQ+ celebrations in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots. The 2016 Pride March took the record for the single biggest Pride March in North America – around two million people marched.
São Paulo (Brazil) – Pride March
The 2009 Pride March in Sao Paulo was, at the time, one of the biggest Pride events in the history of LGBTQ+ activism as it hosted around four million marchers. In 2013 an estimated five million people were in attendance – as yet the largest local Pride March ever recorded.
Madrid (Spain) – WorldPride Festival and Europride
In 2017 the WorldPride event took place in Madrid and attracted over three million people, while in 2007 their Europride celebration was estimated to have included over two million participants.
San Francisco (USA) – Pride March
The San Francisco Pride March of 2014 was attended by over 1.5 million members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies, and it remains one of the largest LGBTQ+ events in the world.
These four events are gigantic, and there are many more around the world that attract hundreds of thousands of people – some of the larger Pride events have been hosted in London, Cologne, Rome and Paris.
Social Media and Pride – The Statistics
We live in the age of social media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok are the most popular means of communication amongst those who have Internet access. When it comes to Pride events, social media plays a huge role in disseminating information and drumming up support.
Brand new statistics are hard to come by but analysis of 2019 Twitter trends showed some interesting insights.
Who Is Tweeting About #Pride?
Gender: the number of people tweeting #Pride2019 was made up of 49.2% women and 50.8% men.
Location by city: out of the total of seven million #Pride2019 mentions:
- 3.4% came from London, UK
- 3.4% – Los Angeles, USA
- 3.3% – New York, USA
- 2.7% – Toronto, Canada
- 2.1% – Washington, USA
- 1.8% – Chicago, USA
- 1.7% – Mexico, Mexico
- 1.6% – San Francisco, USA
- 1.6% – Houston, USA; and
- 1.6% – Sao Paulo, Brazil
It’s clear that Pride belongs to LGBTQ+ communities around the world – each continent was represented on Twitter.
How Do People Feel About #Pride?
Offline, Pride events evoke a number of different emotions in people, both positive and negative. On Twitter emojis give us an idea of attitudes towards Pride. The most popular:
- Rainbow – 25.9%
- Pride flag (rainbow) – 14.6%
- Black heart – 7.5%
- Purple heart 5.4%
- Blue heart – 5.3%
- Yellow heart – 4.8%
- Green heart – 4.7%
- Other – 32.8%
Companies And Pride Marketing
Pride Month doesn’t only see crowds take to the streets; it also offers brands the chance to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community (while cashing in on the popularity of Pride-themed products). Statistics from the USA show that there is huge profit to be made by targeting the LGBTQ+ community in marketing.
The LGBTQ+ population in the US has an estimated $917 million in buying power.
Male same-sex households spend around $2045 more per year on household products (food, clothing etc.) than heterosexual households
In 2020 there were many brands that focused on Pride marketing during this significant month, many of which, such as Disney and Skittles, released limited edition rainbow-coloured products.
Analysis of English-language media outlets showed which companies clocked up the most mentions of Pride out of a total of 2139 articles.
The top ten:
- Apple – 61 mentions
- Netflix – 61
- Disney – 57
- Nike – 36
- Procter & Gamble- 35
- HBO – 34
- Puma – 30
- Skittles – 22
Seventeen other big brands also mentioned Pride, including Microsoft, Starbucks, Adidas, IKEA and Calvin Klein. Some brands partnered with LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations and donated a percentage of profits to their cause.
Marketing: Support vs Rainbow-Washing
The use of Pride solely for promotional purposes without reciprocation (Rainbow-Washing) is heavily frowned upon. A high-profile example of Rainbow-Washing was the rainbow MAGA hat sold during the Trump/Pence campaign: an obvious attempt to attract LGBTQ+ voters and money by politicians trying to pass anti-LGBTQ+ laws.
How Are We Celebrating Pride 2021?
Pride celebrations are traditionally held outdoors and often attract huge crowds. Last year, however, strict lockdowns prevented any such gatherings and people had to congregate in online spaces.
In 2020 the highlight of Pride Month was a 24-hour live-stream, accessible to people all over the world. This first of its kind, this event featured music, speeches and other performances, and was attended by Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, as well as high-profile members of the LGBTQ+ community like Laverne Cox. A few Pride events in the works this year include:
There are more than 50 New York Pride events planned in 2021 – they are expected to attract more than three million people. The 2021 theme: The Fight Continues.
The WorldPride event will be taking place in Copenhagen in August from the 13th to the 22nd. They’re likely to have two marches – the first kicking off celebrations in Malmö and the second wrapping up the event.
Madrid is hosting a noteworthy Pride Parade (MADO) with a week-long celebration of concerts, parties, sport, art and culture. MADO is set to take place from the 25th of June.
Asia does not host many Pride events, so Taipei Pride is a very important occasion, being the biggest gay event in Taiwan. It takes place on the last Saturday of October.
This year’s theme is London Pride’s values: Visibility, Unity and Equality; and will take place in September. This celebratory march has attracted over 15,000 spectators in previous years, and organisers are hoping for incredible support this year too.
London Pride is campaigning for the UK Government to criminalise conversion therapy, protect LGBTQ+ people against hate crimes and train all healthcare professionals on how to support LGBTQ+ patients.
Promising Statistics – But Still Far To Go
While more and more people identifying as LGBTQ+ are feeling safe enough to live openly, there is still a lot of prejudice to contend with.
Statistics show that recognition and support is growing, especially with the increase of brands promoting Pride. Despite this, the world still has far to go in making society truly inclusive and, in some cases, removing the very real danger of imprisonment or execution faced by non-heteronormative individuals around the world.