Over the years, gay pride events have spread from large cities to smaller towns and villages worldwide—even in places where repression and violence against gays and lesbians are commonplace. The atmosphere at these events can range from raucous, carnivalesque celebrations to strident political protest to solemn memorials for those lost to AIDS or homophobic violence.
In June 2000, President Bill Clinton officially designated June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, in recognition of the Stonewall Riots and gay activism throughout the years. A more-inclusive name was chosen in 2009 by President Barack Obama: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.
The origins of Gay Pride Month were also honored by Obama when, in 2016, he created the Stonewall National Monument, a 7.7-acre around the Stonewall Inn where the modern gay rights movement began.
Today, Gay Pride parades in many cities are enormous celebrations: The events in Sao Paulo, Sydney, New York City, Madrid, Taipei and Toronto routinely attract up to 5 million attendees.
As Pride Month has grown in popularity across the globe, criticism of the events has grown, too. Many early organizers now decry the commercial influence and corporate nature of Pride parades—especially when those corporations make donations to politicians who vote against gay, lesbian and transgender rights.
Gay Pride events are nonetheless seen as vital protests against repression and isolation in places such as Serbia, Turkey and Russia, where Pride parades have been met with antigay violence. Even in the United States, a rise in bloodshed, killings and threats at Pride and other gay events and gatherings highlights the oppression the LGBTQ community still faces.