LGBTQ+ Pride Month in Massachusetts and Rhode Island

June was dubbed “Pride Month” to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising that took place on June 28th, 1969. While certainly not the beginning of the gay liberation movement, the multi-day riot—in which patrons of the Stonewall Inn fought back against police that raided the New York City bar—was a watershed moment that continues to inspire people today.

While most are familiar with that story, both Massachusetts and Rhode Island also have unique and important histories regarding the gay liberation movement.

LGBTQ+ Pride in MA & RI

In Massachusetts one year after Stonewall, a small group of activists banded together and marched with a Vietnam protest from the Cambridge Common to the Boston Common. In June 1971 the first official Pride event in Boston was held. After a week spent workshopping issues affecting the gay and lesbian communities, the event ended with a march to the police station to read a statement decrying brutality against homosexuals. Since then, Pride marches have occurred every June except for 2020-2022. The parade is scheduled to take place this year on June 17th.

Rhode Island’s first Pride march took place in 1976. State and City leaders attempted to block the event. However, Pride organizers took them to court and prevailed, and the parade of around 75 people marched through downtown Providence. The Rhode Island Pride Parade now boasts over 125,000 attendees and will happen this year on June 17th.

Similar histories can be traced throughout the United States. However, the federal government did not officially recognize Pride for several decades after the first marches. President Bill Clinton first declared June “Gay & Lesbian Pride Month” in 1999. A decade later, President Barack Obama renamed it “LGBT Pride Month,” which was then further expanded in 2021 by President Joe Biden to “LGBTQ Pride Month.”

Many of today’s Pride parades look very different than the ones many decades ago. But while these events may feel more like a celebration than an uprising these days, there are still many inequalities to address.

Addiction and the Need for LGBTQ+ Specialized Treatment

One issue that is often overlooked is addiction and mental health in the LGBTQ+ community. According to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), gay and bisexual men were significantly more likely to have suffered from a substance use disorder (SUD) in the past year than straight men (32.2%, 32.4%, and 20.7% respectively). Among women, this disparity was even more pronounced; 26.5% of lesbian women and 32.2% of bisexual women suffered from SUD in the past year surveyed, compared to 13.8% of straight women.

Specialized LGBTQ+ treatment is one solution that has shown efficacy. For example, several studies have found that specialized programs for gay and bisexual men that addressed unique issues affecting LGBTQ+ people—such as homophobia and transphobia, violence, social isolation, and family problems—resulted in more positive outcomes.

Addiction Treatment in Massachusetts and Rhode Island

AdCare Treatment Centers provides effective, evidence-based, individualized treatment throughout several locations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Call to begin the admissions process with our compassionate admissions navigators or learn more about using insurance to cover rehab and other ways to pay for treatment. You can also verify your insurance coverage using the confidential .

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