Stonewall activists seek to 'Reclaim Pride' from corporations and police on 50th Anniversary
A man walks on steps covered in rainbow colors for Pride Month at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on June 15, 2019 in New York City AFP

In Nanette, the standup show by Hannah Gadsby, the comedian tells the audience that her first introduction to gay people was seeing the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on TV, recounting jokingly: “Oh, there they are — my people. They’re busy aren’t they? Gosh, don’t they love to dance and party? I used to sit there and watch it and go, where . . . do the quiet gays go?”

Pride has not always a celebration — far from it. The flier that announced the first Pride march in New York, 1970's Christopher Street Liberation Day March, read: “Gay Liberation is for the homosexual who stands up and fights back.”

The modern LGBTQ rights movement was famously born in June 1969 when patrons of New York’s Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, fought back against a NYPD raid. Twenty-one people were arrested and many were injured in the riots against police brutality that ensued over the coming days.

The New York City Pride march, which annually commemorates the Stonewall uprising, is believed to be the largest Pride celebration in the world. This year, on the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, it will face a competing march. The rival, known as the Queer Liberation March, is organized by the Reclaim Pride Coalition, who seek to commemorate the legacy of the Stonewall uprising by returning to its radical roots.

In recent years, a group of activists began marching as a resistance contingent in protest of the huge role that corporations and police have come to occupy in the annual Pride march.