LGBT Pride Month, observed in June, is celebrated around the U.S. with parades and activism events. At the same time, many are unaware of Pride Month's origin, which honors the 1969 Stonewall riots--a demonstration which blazed the trail for activists across the country. This year's Pride Month is a particularly somber event, given the recent mass shooting at Pulse, a popular Orlando gay nightclub.

In 1970, the first Gay Pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. While there has been tremendous progress since then, LGBT advocates are still working toward a future without discrimination in the workplace and beyond.

Here are some thought-provoking quotes from leaders and change-makers who have contributed to the conversation around LGBT equality:

  1. "It takes no compromise to give people their rights...it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression."--Harvey Milk
  2. "I hate the word homophobia. It's not a phobia. You're not scared. You're an asshole."--Morgan Freeman
  3. "It always seemed to me a bit pointless to disapprove of homosexuality. It's like disapproving of rain."--Francis Maude
  4. "Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it's a good place to start."--Jason Collins, first openly gay athlete in U.S. pro sports
  5. "When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free."--President Barack Obama
  6. "The only queer people are those who don't love anybody."--Rita Mae Brown
  7. "So let me be clear: I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."--Tim Cook
  8. "If homosexuality is a disease, let's all call in queer to work: 'Hello. Can't work today, still queer.'--Robin Tyler
  9. "This world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort to be less horrible to one another."--Ellen Page
  10. "The beauty of standing up for your rights is others will see you standing and stand up as well." Columnist Cassandra Duffy
  11. "Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?"--Author Ernest J. Gaines
  12. "The beauty of standing up for your rights is others see you standing and stand up as well."--Advice columnist Cassandra Duffy
  13. "I've been embraced by a new community. That's what happens when youre finally honest about who you are; you find others like you."--Chaz Bono
  14. "Gender preference does not define you. Your spirit defines you."--Author P.C. Cast
  15. "Somebody, your father or mine, should have told us that not many people have ever died of love. But multitudes have perished, and are perishing every hour--and in the oddest places!--for the lack of it."--Author James Baldwin
  16. "We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference, and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity."--George Takei
  17. "Being gay is like glitter, it never goes away."--Lady Gaga
  18. "I believe that no one should ever have to choose between a career we love and living our lives with authenticity and integrity"--Out & Equal Executive Director Selisse Berry
  19. "It takes some intelligence and insight to figure out you're gay and then a tremendous amount of balls to live it and live it proudly."--Jason Bateman
  20. "Every gay and lesbian person who has been lucky enough to survive the turmoil of growing up is a survivor. Survivors always have an obligation to those who will face the same challenges."--Writer/actor Bob Paris
  21. "All of us who are openly gay are living and writing the history of our movement. We are no more - and no less - heroic than the suffragists and abolitionists of the 19th century; and the labor organizers, Freedom Riders, Stonewall demonstrators, and environmentalists of the 20th century. We are ordinary people, living our lives, and trying as civil-rights activist Dorothy Cotton said, to 'fix what ain't right' in our society."--Senator Tammy Baldwin
  22. "Being gay is natural. Hating gay is a lifestyle choice."--John Fugelsang
  23. "I'm living by example by continuing on with my career and having a full, rich life, and I am incidentally gay."--Portia DeRossi
  24. "I think being gay is a blessing, and it's something I am thankful for every single day."--Anderson Cooper
  25. "Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself."--Harvey Fierstein
  26. "The single best thing about coming out of the closet is that nobody can insult you by telling you what you've just told them."--Rachel Maddow

Do you have a favorite quote that's not on this list?

Published on: Jun 25, 2016