An attack on gay people in June of 1969 resulted in the Stonewall riots. While we celebrate June as Pride month in remembrance of Stonewall, the gay rights movement was already up and running. It started in response to laws intended to harm gay people in Germany, but the first public gay rights organization in the U.S. was the Society for Human Rights (SHR) in 1924, organized by Henry Gerber, who was soon arrested. Organization attempts continued and the Mattachine Society emerged in 1950, followed by Daughters of Bilitis organized by Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon (the first couple married in California) and 6 others in San Francisco in 1955.
In the 1960's, the “homophile movement,” as the participants dubbed it, became more visible. Activists, such as Franklin Kameny and Barbara Gittings, picketed government agencies in Washington to protest discriminatory employment policies. In San Francisco, Martin, Lyon, and others targeted police harassment."
In 1959 a riot in LA occurred as a result of police harassment.
In 1964, a gay group picketed the Whitehall Street Induction Center after the confidentiality of gay men's draft records was violated.In 1965 gay activists picketed the White House on April 17 and the United Nations on the 18th after learning that Cuba was placing homosexuals in forced labor camps. Mattachine's picketing tactic led to the joint effort, with Daughters of Bilitis and Mattachine of New York, on July 4, 1965 picketing at Philadelphia's Independence Hall. That picket became the Annual Reminder that would be repeated through 1969 and was suspended in 1970 to support the first Christopher Street Liberation Day. April 25th, 1965, 150 people participated in a sit-in after the manager of Dewey's restaurant refused service to several people he thought looked gay. August 1966, Gay customers rioted at Compton's Cafeteria in response to continued police harassment. January 1, 1967, The LAPD raided the New Year's Eve parties at two gay bars, the Black Cat Tavern and New Faces. Several patrons were injured and a bartender was hospitalized with a fractured skull. Several hundred people spontaneously demonstrated on Sunset Boulevard and picketed outside the Black Cat. By 1969, gay rights organizations existed across the country.
There were many other actions as a direct response to mistreatment from the government, police, and business owners, leading up to a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn.
Pride is about remembering those who marched and got arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and had their lives destroyed leading up to and including Stonewall, as well as those who continue to risk being fired, disowned by family and friends, beaten and killed, just for being authentic human beings.