Many countries, including Canada, observe the month of June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month. In recognition of this important month, Tealee has developed our own Pride Month green tea blend: Glitter Green. Combining green tea, lily and jasmine petals with a touch of glitter, this sparkly blend tastes like green tea but smells like a beautiful bouquet of June flowers. We’ve even teamed up with Bobo Academy, a queer apparel shop run out of Toronto, to exclusively feature our blend this month. Check out their site for all your LGBTQ apparel needs as you show your Pride this June.
In 2000, American President Bill Clinton proclaimed that to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots, the month of June should be officially dedicated to the celebration and recognition of the “gay and lesbian Americans whose many and varied contributions have enriched our national life” (Clinton Proclamation, June 2 2000). Fifteen years later, parades, marches, rallies, community days and arts festivals are held across Canada and the US every June in celebration of diversity and the fight for equality. Similar Pride festivities occur in most European, South American and Australian major cities, with some held throughout the year, like the Moscow Parade in May which commemorates the 1993 decriminalization of homosexuality in Russia. While here in Canada June is dedicated to celebrating victories for gay rights movements across the world, including the recent Irish referendum that adds gay marriage to the Constitution of Ireland, it is also a time to remember and continue the crusade that began at the Stonewall Inn.
Largely regarded as the catalyst for the LGBTQ movement for civil rights in the US, the Stonewall riots began on June 28, 1969 in New York City with a group of gay customers at the popular Greenwich Village gay bar, the Stonewall Inn. The customers, constantly faced with police harassment for their patronage of the bar, were fed up and decided to take a stand. As a riot broke out in the early hours of June 28th, word spread throughout the city and other gay men and women joined, chanting “gay power.” Although with the arrival of police reinforcements the crowd was dispersed, they returned the following night, having grown to over 1000 people. Protestors rioted for hours outside the Stonewall Inn, and while the riot-control squad effectively dissolved the crowd, a spark had been ignited. For days following, demonstrations took place and discussions about civil rights were held across the city. Shortly thereafter, the first organized group to use the word “gay” in its name was established – the Gay Liberation Front. The first gay pride parades in US history took place in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and in New York exactly one year after the Stonewall Riots. Within two years, gay rights groups had been organized in almost every major city in the US, as LGBTQ individuals banded together in the fight for equality.
I will admit that the history of the LGBTQ Civil Rights movement is more complex than this blog post will allow, but I hope that the above summary gives you at least an inkling into why June is such an important month. Here in Canada, the Civil Marriage Act of 2005 granted all Canadians the right to marry regardless of sex or gender, making Canada the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Unfortunately, even in the US, arguably the country where the civil rights movement began, same-sex marriage is not yet legal in all 50 states, and laws like Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act threaten the few LGBTQ rights that have already been won (although, in April the Indiana Senate President and House Speaker announced proposed amendments to the RFRA in protection of LGBTQ persons).
In his 2014 Pride Month proclamation, President Obama reminded Americans to continue the fight for “tolerance, justice, and dignity – because if hearts and minds continue to change over time, laws will too.” Happy Pride Month Tealee friends! How are you celebrating?