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Pride! Parades, Protests, and Progress

Pride! Parades, Protests, and Progress

Sioux Falls, South Dakota's Pride Parade will be June 10th, 2023! Pride today is a time to celebrate the queer community, fight the stigmatization of LGBT+ identities, increase visibility, commemorate the stonewall uprising, and to revel in the accomplishments of the activists who helped propel the community forward, ascertained rights for LGBT+ individuals, and fought against discrimination.

Sioux Falls' very first Pride Parade was in June of 2019 thanks to Sioux Falls Pride, formerly called The Center for Equality. Every year since then, Sioux Falls has celebrated Pride with a parade and a variety of other events throughout the month of June with the exception of 2020 due to pandemic related restrictions for in-person events & gatherings. 

This year Sioux Falls is kicking Pride Month off on June 2nd with a free family game night at the Game Chest, followed by a wide array of events throughout the month. There is something for everyone with events ranging from rock climbing, roller-skating, biking, and self-defense all the way to bingo night, a talent show, drag & burlesque, and drag show brunch! For more events and full information, check out Sioux Falls Pride's event page!


Don't miss the Pride Parade on June 10th!

The parade will begin at 8th street and Main avenue at 10am with the destination spot at 8th and Railroad! Don't miss out on the LGBTQ+ & ally vendors at 8th and Railroad where we'll be selling Δ8, Δ9, goodie bags, t-shirts, Pride merch, and more! Bring your cold, hard cash as many vendors (including us) will be cash only. As stated on the official Sioux Falls Pride events page, most of the food trucks only accept cash. Don't miss out on our Pride-exclusive sale prices and Pride  merchandise!



The first ever Gay Pride Parade, called Christopher Street Liberation Day or Gay Liberation Day at the time, occurred on June 28th, 1970 - one year after the Stonewall Uprising. This date was chosen as a way to commemorate the monumental event at the Stonewall Inn. The Stonewall Uprising, also called the Stonewall Riots and Stonewall, serves as an important historical event in the progression of gay rights and visibility. Stonewall was and will always be a cornerstone of the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement. We'll talk a lot more about Stonewall in just a bit.



The Fight for LGBTQ+ Rights in Modern America

It was not so long ago same-sex couples were not allowed to be legally married. Less than 20 years ago, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004.

In 2015 the Supreme Court ruled in a historic civil rights case (Obergefell v. Hodges), guaranteeing same-sex couples the same marriage rights as opposite-sex couples in all fifty states... that was only eight years ago!

Less than 40 years ago homosexuality was considered a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association until December of 1973.

It was legal to discriminate against people for their sexual orientation until 1995.

Gay conversion therapy sadly still happens today across the U.S. with very few states banning it. Some states even have laws in place that prevent a ban on gay conversion therapy entirely. Not only does gay conversion therapy lack the evidence for efficacy, but these places are known for the trauma they inflict on LGBTQ+ people and they're rife with abuse, including the abuse of minors.




Stonewall Uprising / Stonewall Riots / Stonewall

Police raided the Manhattan gay bar Stonewall Inn on June 28th, 1969. The police stormed the speak easy with just over 200 patrons still in the bar. As fear and panic set in, the police barred the doors and potential exits.


Raiding gay bars was an all-too-common practice for the police. Around the time of the Stonewall Uprising the police had been raiding more gay bars than usual, shutting down two other gay bars in the surrounding area. Stonewall had just been raided four nights earlier.


At the time standard procedure during these raids was to round the patrons up and force them into a line while providing ID. Anyone dressed as a woman would be taken from line by female officers. The female officers would bring them into the bathroom to 'verify' their sex. If the officer decided an individual appeared to be male whilst dressed in women's clothing, they would be put under arrest. Anyone who failed to present identification, women who were not wearing three 'feminine' articles of clothing, as well as employees and management would all be arrested.

However, the raid did not go as intended. Identification would not be provided as individuals in line refused. People dressed as women refused to go with officers. Tensions were high and the tension only grew as officers began to sexually assault some of the lesbian women under the guise of frisking them. While waiting for police wagons to arrive as a means to confiscate alcohol from the establishment, patrons of the bar who were not arrested were allowed to leave. Instead of quickly dispersing as usual, they stayed behind and hung around outside of the Stonewall Inn. A large crowd quickly formed, drawing in more people off the street.

A woman named Stormé DeLarverie was cuffed and police attempted to put her in the cop car, but she escaped their grasp time after time and fought with a few officers as they tried to drag her back to the cop car. At one point she was hit in the head with a baton by an officer for stating their handcuffs were too tight on her wrists. People at the event remember Stormé DeLarverie yelling out, "Why don't you guys do something?" as a cop forced her into the back of the cop car. This was enough pressure for the consistently rising tension to finally snap and the crowd erupted into violence.


Launched overhead, a diverse array of items broke through the windows and parking meters were ripped from the ground to be used as a battering ram to force open the bar door. Chaos ensued. Trash was lit on fire and shoved inside the busted windows and then lighter fluid was involved. It's debated who lit the fire - the rioters or the cops.


Once the police had their back-up from the Tactical Patrol Force, the officers were able to leave the building they'd been trapped in. There were officers who came out with injuries and according to witnesses, the police were humiliated and infuriated. As the police attempted to arrest anyone and everyone they could out of anger, people fought back which seemed to anger the police even further.


Police got in position to clear the streets, pushing people out of the way while protestors formed a kick line and sang as they kicked their legs in the air. Police in a militaristic position versus the protestors joined in song and dance. This must have been the last straw for the police and their bruised egos because they rushed the protestors and beat them with nightsticks. The uprising ended with thirteen arrests, hospitalized protestors, and four police officers with injuries.


Although the streets had been mostly cleared in the early morning hours, it's not the end of the story. More protesting turned rioting occurred the following evening with similar demonstrations and destruction. The protests continued on in the days that followed. This was a place for the LGBT community to feel safe and welcome, and they were not going to let the police take that away from them.


It's incredibly difficult to explain just how monumental and impactful the Stonewall Uprising was at the time and it has continued to be a catalyst for gay rights, political and social change, and the very reason Pride Parades have become annual events all across the country and the rest of the world.


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