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As in Stonewall, a Gay Pride under pressure

As every year, in Europe, with the arrival of summer, the Gay Pride season or Pride March is launched. It is often that of Mas Palomas, Gran Canaria which opens the dance a little early, in May, with 15 days of celebration.


On this island, it ends in apotheosis, with a big parade, a magnificent demonstration, with many floats, and a delirious crowd, on the last day of the festivities! And all the Gays, the LGBTQI, (lesbians, gays, bi, trans, Queer, intersex) then meet at the end of the course, for a wild party in the city center, for celebrations that will last all night long!

In Paris, France, it is called the Pride March and usually the floats parade at the end of June, except in the event of a pandemic. The gay pride of Paris, therefore, falls every year, roughly on the same dates as those of the Stonewall events, which took place on the night of June 28, 1969 in New York and which lasted several days!

However, in 2016, the pandemic has not yet taken place, and yet for very serious reasons, the pride march will not take place at the end of June, but only at the beginning of July. Indeed, that year, the Paris Pride march was even almost canceled! Which would have been a real setback, not to say a disaster, for the entire LGBTQI + community and the rights it claims!

But why?

Quite simply, because it is due to its history. But who still remembers today, especially among the younger generation, why Gaypride exists?

What is the origin of this procession, its raison d'être? Why, in the event that this parade would have been canceled in Paris, would this have been very serious?

And why did the circumstances remind everyone of how the pride march, gay pride and the rights of LGBT people associated with it, are always something so fragile! Rights which, in France in 2016, had never been so threatened since 1969 by dramatic news, giving this celebration, this parade, this year, a bitter aftertaste. But even more surprising, the chance for this event to allow it to justify, to affirm all its raison d'être, and especially in the minds of those who might still think, nowadays, that this parade is superfluous or even negative, because considered too caricatural, because according to them, it would give a deplorable image of the gay community in general.

The Stonewall INN Riots, the origin of Gay Pride

That evening, June 28, 1969 in New York, most of the gays present in this bar in Greenwich Village, in Manhattan, rebelled and decided not to obey the orders of the police, who had come to raid this gay bar. Serious clashes with the police will then break out. The riots will last several days and several nights. The press, to cover the event, will make its headlines by putting on the front page “Legalize gay bar”, “Legalize gay bars”! Indeed, at that time, the term LGBTQI did not yet exist and the term gay referred to both trans, lesbians and bi and homosexual men. That is to say this heterogeneous population that was drinking that evening, in the Stonewall Inn!

Then, each year, to put pressure on the public authorities, with the aim of fighting for the advancement of gay rights, a commemorative march will then be organized each year to celebrate these events, which mark a major turning point in the fight for freedom and the rights of gays, LGBT.

Thus since 1969, every year at the same time, in many countries, a parade is organized, with a large number of floats, which parade on a well-defined route.

So, quite naturally, it will be called Gaypride and this demonstration will gradually turn into a very festive parade, where the defense of rights will gradually take a back seat, giving way to the immense joy of get together to party!

And if some may have forgotten, what is the raison d'être of gay pride, and perhaps even what are its origins, that year, in 2016 in Paris, the circumstances had to remind everyone of how much the moment was serious. But also why it was important for this event to take place. And the usually festive atmosphere of this gay march had given way to fear and concern. But what was this news that almost caused this gay pride, this pride march, to be almost canceled by the French authorities! This would have constituted a huge precedent, never seen since the events of Stonewall!

Gay Pride in a state of emergency!

It must be said, unlike other gaypride, the Paris Pride march has never abandoned the demands of LGBTQI, in favor of the party. This demonstration has always had a very political character, in the first sense of the term. If despite everything, that day, some demonstrators had come only with the idea of ​​celebrating, they could not ignore the conditions in which this march was taking place! Indeed, we are on July 2, 2016, a few months earlier, following the various attacks in Paris, which began on January 7, 2015 with many sites affected throughout the year, with Charlie Hebdo, the Bataclan , bars in the 11th arrondissement and a supply store in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, France is in a state of emergency. The terrorist threat has never been greater. It is clear that the demonstration is obviously an obvious target for fundamentalists of all stripes!

The climate in France is such that the first decision of the authorities is to simply cancel this parade! Unheard of since Stonewall!

After numerous negotiations with the prefecture, the Inter LGBT, will manage to ensure that this event takes place! Thanks to her for this won fight, but not without a downside however: the course will be modified, and enormously shortened, in order to secure the participants as much as possible. The tension is high. No one knows what could happen during this parade!

The route of the LGBTQI floats is therefore marked out and the distance traveled per parade is very small, compared to other years, in such a way that no one can surreptitiously infiltrate with weapons, with a vehicle to reach the crowd. . The authorities are under pressure, it must happen without bloodshed! Everyone is searched before joining the procession, the tension is at its height! The participants on the tanks know that they are a prime target and yet consciously take the risk of exposing themselves. This is why this pride march will take place in this year 2016, along the quays of the Seine, right bank, mainly along the Louvre, with fear in your stomach!

The events in Orlando only rekindle the fear!

On July 2, 2016, this fear is reinforced during this parade, because a few days earlier, an attack stigmatized the gay community, the LGBT community! Not in France, not in Paris, but in the United States of America! This is the Orlando attack which was perpetrated on June 13, 2016, just over 15 days before Gay Pride in Paris! Remember, in Orlando, Florida, 49 people were killed in the "Pulse" nightclub, one of the worst shootings in United States history. Consequently, this last event will further amplify the excitement of the participants, and remind everyone that the fight of gays, of the LGBT community is far from being something acquired and that we must remain vigilant in the face of to fundamentalisms.

For or against Gay Pride?

You can be for gay pride, or feel uncomfortable with this demonstration, which is somewhat exuberant and which could still shock today, even some members of the gay community, the LGBTQI community. But let's not forget that it is at the origin of the freedom that we can enjoy every day, that of loving ourselves freely, of uniting ourselves in love with the person of our choice, of being able to have children and raise them whatever be the gender of our spouse. Let's always keep in mind how much she has done and still does today to advance LGBT rights.

This is why, if one day it were to be canceled for any reason, terrorist threats or others, it would be a real setback in the defense of our rights, a real admission of submission, in the face of those who still want today, impose on us a society, which according to their belief, should only be organized in a hetero-normative way!

And you, who read these lines, what is your opinion:

- What do you think of gay pride in general?

- Do you remember the one from 2016 in particular?

- Were you afraid, did you decide to give up going and if so why?

- Or on the contrary, didn't that motivate you to go there, no matter what?

- But maybe it was also your very first gay pride!

So tell us about your experience, share your comments with us, by leaving us a message on the Hot-line!

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See you soon and thank you in advance for your participation.


Marco Drion!

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