Pride month usually takes place in June in the U.S. The month sees a series of marches, parades and other events held to recognize and celebrate the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary and queer) community.

The celebrations commemorate the Stonewall Uprising in New York City, which was a critical turning point for the gay liberation movement in the country.

A brief history

The Stonewall Uprising began on June 28 in 1969 after police that day raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the Greenwich Village neighborhood in Manhattan.

Homosexuality at the time was considered a criminal offense throughout New York State, with many gay bars were owned by the mafia and operated without a liquor license, according to the Library of Congress.

Police raids and harassment occurred frequently across the U.S. at the time and members of the LGBTQ community began to fight back amid growing activism in the 1960s.

Stonewall Inn had been raided frequently ahead of the uprising, but the June 28 raid led to a series of demonstrations that lasted six days.

"It was not the first time police raided a gay bar, and it was not the first time LGBTQ+ people fought back, but the events that would unfold over the next six days would fundamentally change the discourse surrounding LGBTQ+ activism in the United States," the Library of Congress website explains.

"Historians have noted that the shift in activism, if Stonewall truly represented one at all, was a shift primarily for white cisgender people, as people of color and gender non-confroming people never truly had the benefit of concealing their marginalized identities," the website adds.

The first Pride march in New York City took place in 1970 on the anniversary year of the Stonewall Uprising and marked the first U.S. Gay Pride week and march.

The inaugural pride march involved about 3,000 to 5,000 gatherers, while today the number has grown to the millions.

The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) says: "Gay pride events, including gay pride parades and festivals were started in major urban centers to improve the visibility, acceptance and legal protections for LGBTQ+ people living in those communities.

"While the aim of pride day started with a political nature, many cities around the world have such wide acceptance and legal protections that many events have become a celebration of pride for the local LGBTQ+ community."

Pride calendar

Most U.S. cities celebrate Pride in June, which is officially recognized as Pride month in many other countries. But it is observed on alternative dates in some countries.

Some of the world's largest Pride events are held in New York City, São Paulo, and Madrid—which each host crowds of up to five million people, according to the IGLTA.

"Over the past 50 years, pride events, marches and demonstrations have evolved considerably. In western nations where LGBTQ+ people are protected and acceptance is high, many pride events have grown in scale, welcoming millions of visitors to their celebrations," the IGLTA says.

Major Pride events in the U.S.

San Francisco, California: Considered the largest gay pride celebration in the country, San Francisco Pride sees more than a million people gather for the event, according to VisitUSA, the official U.S. travel website. This year's festivities include a Pride Movie Night on June 11 and 12. See the San Francisco Pride website for more details.

New York City, New York: Events take place in late June, including a rally and parade, which this year takes place on June 25 and 27, respectively. See the NYC Pride website for more details.

Washington, D.C.: Events kick off from early June, while the "Colorful Pridemobile Parade" takes place on June 12. See the Capital Pride website for more information.

Denver, Colorado: Denver PrideFest events take place from late June, including a Pride 5K run on June 20 and a virtual parade on June 21. See the Denver PrideFest website for details.

Key West, Florida: Key West Pride events, from brunches to pool parties, are being held from June 2 to 6 this year. See the Key West Pride website for more information.

A Pride flag in San Francisco.
A Pride Flag seen during the San Francisco Gay Pride parade on June 30, 2019 in San Francisco, California.Meera Fox/Getty Images