By Dick Brennan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — June 1 marks the beginning of Pride Month.

Cities across the country and around the world will hold events throughout the month, a celebration of learning and events surrounding the LGBTQ community.

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It’s been more than 50 years of a continued struggle.

As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reports, the official theme for New York City Pride this year is “The Fight Continues.  And, as co-chair of New York City Pride Sue Doster says, there is a continued battle for equality and acceptance for the LGTBQ community.

“It was a kind of call to action. Don’t get to relax. There are still a lot we need to do,” Doster said.

The call to action that started the modern day movement began at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street. The story and events are now deeply woven into the history of New York, and the birth of the gay rights movement.

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it was June 28th, 1969. Residents of Greenwich Village had finally taken a stand against police raids on gay bars. The violent confrontation led to days of protests, but ultimately to a community ready to stand together and take a hard public stance against discrimination.

“Standing up in the face of authority, mostly marginalized, Black, Brown, trans people, at Stonewall. That’s not always covered widely, but I think it’s the time when the community found its voice, and said ‘enough,'” Doster said.

In 1970, the first Pride March was organized, then known as Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day. It’s estimated that 5,000 people marched from Christopher Street to Central Park.

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“In the early days of Pride, our outreach was limited to how much postage we could afford to put in our postage machine, and how many addresses we had,” Doster said.

In the years that followed, the march has grown exponentially.

“A normal Pride is probably between two to three million. We had over five million people come to New York City to celebrate World Pride,” Doster said.

That was in 2019. Just three years earlier in 2016, Stonewall and Chrisopher Park were officially designated national monuments. Stacy Lentz and Kurt Kelly are co-owners of the Stonewall Inn.

“It’s amazing to be recognized as the first LGBTQ National Monument. More importantly for the entire community, for its story to be told, right. We are a part of American history,” Lentz said.

This year, there are questions about police presence and participation in the march, including long-standing participation by GOAL, the Gay Officers Action League.

“We are fine with GOAL participating in the March, not in full uniform and not armed,” Doster said.

As for this year’s Pride March on June 27th, details are still being finalized, and there are post-pandemic concerns about crowds, but the importance of the Stonewall Inn remains a constant.

“Being one of the original safe spaces where people could come in and feel free to be who they are, and to be who they want to be with. That – we tried to keep it open throughout the whole COVID as much as possible,” Kelly said.

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The New York City Pride March was canceled last year because of the pandemic, but it’s back this year on June 27. It will also include a virtual option.

Dick Brennan