Over the Rainbow

It’s that time of year again!

Albuquerque is hosting the 41st annual PrideFest this weekend. Everyone is encouraged to join the celebration of the LGBTQ community. Click here for event dates and times!

Photo by ABQ Live – Albuquerque Pride Parade 2016

As we enter the summer season, we have the opportunity to reflect on the history of Albuquerque Pride. PrideFest symbolizes liberation for the gay community.

A lot of recognizable change has taken place over the last 48 years. In June of 1969, the Stonewall Uprising marked our country’s launch into the gay rights movement. Men and women protested for equality at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, New York. The building has since been named a national monument in honor of the pivotal change that took place there.

Before the series of New York riots, individuals who didn’t see themselves as straight were encouraged to keep their sexual orientation to themselves. Judy Garland – best known for her role playing Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz – was an early activist for equality.

Garland’s support and acceptance of the gay community fostered hope for millions of people who were tired of hiding who they truly were. Rather than openly identifying as gay, they would introduce themselves as “a friend of Dorothy.” Her death in 1969 is rumored to have sparked the Stonewall protests.

News of the rebellion spread internationally, and now the historical event is observed worldwide around the same time every year. Albuquerque’s first march for gay rights occurred in 1976. Less than 30 people walked in this parade. Although they were small in numbers, the tradition they began was carried on and has grown into the large celebration we know today.

Every year, we continue to see progress in the equal rights movement. Events such as PrideFest help to raise awareness of the contemporary issues the LGBTQ community faces. These festivities also allow us to celebrate how far we’ve journeyed on the path to equality.

Photo by ABQ Live – Albuquerque Pride Parade 2016

We have witnessed a substantial amount of positive change in recent years, but there will always remain room for improvement.

As we continue to take pride in who we are and what we stand for, we draw closer as a community.

In the words of Dorothy, “Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.”

 Written by Brianna Mortensen