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The history of the gay rights movement in this country is usually dated to 1969 when the patrons of a New York City bar fought back against a discriminatory police raid. At the time, homosexuality — or “sodomy,” as it was referred to in the legal books — was still a crime. Men could be arrested for wearing drag, and women faced the same punishment if they were found wearing less than three pieces of “feminine clothing.” The harassment continued for years, infuriating the gay community. On June 28, 1969, the police arrived at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. However, the 200 patrons inside didn’t just sit down and wait to be arrested — they resisted, then rioted, sending the police a loud and clear message about their frustration with the status quo for LGBT individuals.
Gay communities around the country immediately latched on to the Stonewall riots as an event that brought attention to their cause. Just a year later, in 1970, a committee was formed to commemorate the riots. The problem? The committee didn’t have a name for the series of events it wanted to hold in honor of LGBTQ rights. It tossed around the slogan “gay power” for a bit, but when committee member L. Craig Schoonmaker suggested “gay pride,” everyone else agreed on the phrase right away. That first weekend of celebrations would eventually turn into a month-long series of events and parades, all under the banner of Pride. Today, the month of June is known as World Pride Month.
Lambda and the Pride Flag
The two most recognizable symbols reflecting the LGBTQ community are the Greek Lambda symbol and the Pride flag.
In 1970, graphic designer Tom Doerr selected the lower-case Greek letter lambda to be the symbol of the New York chapter of the Gay Activists Alliance. The alliance’s literature states that Doerr chose the symbol specifically for its denotative meaning in the context of chemistry and physics: “a complete exchange of energy–that moment or span of time witness to absolute activity”. The lambda became associated with Gay Liberation, and in December 1974, it was officially declared the international symbol for gay and lesbian rights by the International Gay Rights Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow Pride flag for the 1978 San Francisco Gay Freedom Celebration. The flag does not depict an actual rainbow. Rather, the colors of the rainbow are displayed as horizontal stripes, with red at the top and violet at the bottom. It represents the diversity of gays and lesbians around the world. In the original eight-color version, pink stood for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for the sun, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit. Today’s flag has now removed the pink stripe and mixed indigo and turquoise into a blue stripe. It is the one we see the most however there are many different variations of the Pride flag representing different parts of the LGBTQ community.
LGBTQ Community & Recovery
Substance use and addiction is a significant problem in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. People who identify as LGBT are at a greater risk for substance use and mental health issues compared to those who identify as heterosexual.
More than twice as many LGBT adults compared to heterosexual adults reported using drugs in the past year, according to the latest data from 2015. Those who identified as LGBT were also more likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol and binge drink, and nearly twice as likely to have had an alcohol or drug problem in the past year.
Additionally, LGBT individuals are much more likely than heterosexual individuals to have depression, anxiety or other emotional or behavioral problems and to think about or attempt suicide, all of which increase the risk of substance use. This makes finding recovery all the more important. So in honor of World Pride Month and those in the LGBTQ community who are struggling with substance dependence issues, we have created a RECO logo mirroring the Pride flag and our commitment as an all-inclusive provider for those suffering from mental health or SUD.
Every person deserves a chance to find recovery and live a life of freedom.
Discover a better life and call our recovery helpline today.