Pride—It’s a simple word that, for some, denotes arrogance, hubris, narcissism, or a foolishly and irrationally distorted sense of one’s personal value, importance, or achievement. However, there is a much more insightful, thoughtful, and powerful meaning behind the word that has been the impetus for worldwide commemoration. Pride can mean “the consciousness of one’s own dignity” and “a product of praise, independent self-reflection, and a fulfilled feeling of belonging.”

On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in New York City. In response to the raid, bar patrons and local residents protested and engaged in violent confrontations with law enforcement for six days. These riots sparked the gay rights movement in the United States and in other countries as well.

LGBT Pride Month occurs in June to commemorate those riots. The month-long celebration includes pride parades, workshops, and concerts that serve not only as opportunities to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals’ history but also as a way for people to come together to support, encourage, and celebrate their differences.

Irina Bokova, former director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said “Human rights are universal, indivisible, and interdependent. They are not reserved for the few—they apply to everyone, everywhere. It is essential to reaffirm this fundamental principle and join forces to make it a reality.”

Pride Month, with its rainbow flags flying, confetti-fueled parades, and merriment, is an outward display of the LGBTQ community’s refusal to let anyone or anything dim its light. Despite the profound emotional and physical pains, and the bullying, violence, intimidation, and shaming that many LGBTQ individuals have endured, the collective decision to unite and declare #LoveWins is the ultimate example of progress.

So, celebrate, honor, and commemorate Pride Month!