Pride Month: What the LGBTQI + Community celebrates and why this month is so important

Written by: Christina Pichler, 27.05.2021

Out and proud! In June, many rainbow flags flatter outside of universities, public buildings and also on the trams in the federal capital Vienna. In this article we will explain to you what those have to do with the LGBTQI + community and why we are celebrating Pride Month in June!

Why are we celebrating Pride Month?

Because it is necessary.
Same-sex marriage is now finally allowed in Austria (only since January 2019), but that does not mean that there is no discrimination or inequality happening.

We only have to think about how often the word “gay” is still used as a swear word. The fact that a lot of people have to flee from their home countries because of social or even political rejection of their sexuality, also makes it clear that a lot of things are still going wrong and a lot has yet to be done. Just a few years ago, homosexuality was still considered a disease. It was not until May 17, 1990 that the WHO established that homosexuality is in fact not (!) a disease.

Even today not all countries believe in equal rights for queer people. Even when it comes to donating blood, homosexual people are still being discriminated to this day. The people of the LGBTQI + community are a minority that has long been condemned by society. With Pride Month we want to draw attention to these injustices and move them to change, because love is love!

How did June become the Pride Month?

In June 1969, during the fight for equal rights at the Stonewall Inn, an LGBTQI + bar in New York, a police raid broke out in which police officers violated and mistreated gays and lesbians and especially black people.

This event was by no means the only one of its kind, but in June 1969 gays, lesbians and transgender people started to protest. The violent clashes had spread around like a wildfire, which meant that an LGBTQI + movement had been formed, which from then on intensified and, in some cases, made itself visible in a provocative way. People met outside the Stonewall Inn and demonstrated for equality and love for all. The police repeatedly tried to break up these protests, but they were largely unsuccessful. From then on, “Stonewall” became a synonym for the fight against oppression and for the liberation of all LGBTQI + people.
Incidentally, the Stonewall Inn was on Christopher Street, which is why the anniversary of the Protests is called Christopher Street Day “CSD” since the 1970s.

Even today, during Pride Month, demonstrations are happening worldwide for the rights of the LGBTQI +  community and against their marginalization. It is about visibility, diversity, equality and above all about love for everyone!

Pride Month is also celebrated in Vienna. After all, even some of our favorite sightseeing spots have gay history! Belvedere Palace, for example, was the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy, who not only liked to be surrounded by men on the battlefield when fighting the Ottomans. Eduard van der Nüll and August Sicard von Sicadsburg were both gay architects who designed the Viennese opera house. The composer Franz Schubert was also part of the LGBTQI+ community and captured his love within his compositions.

You can also see that people and couples of different sexual orientations and identities are welcome in Vienna by the so-called “Ampelpärchen” shining bright from the Viennese traffic lights. In June, many people show solidarity, including Wiener Linien, which hoist rainbow flags on all trams.

What does LGBTQI + stand for?

The acronym LGBTQI + stands for different sexual orientations and sexual identities: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex – the + stands for everyone who is also part of the Community but doesn’t identify with one of the previously mentioned labels – nobody is excluded. LGBTQI + addresses all people who do not subscribe to heterosexual and gender-typical roles.

More important terms:

  • Gay – people who are attracted to other people of the same sex
  • Bisexual – people who are attracted to both men and women
  • Transgender – people who cannot identify with their biological gender. Doesn’t say anything about sexual orientation though
  • Queer – collective term for everything outside from the norm, is used today for all sexual orientations and gender identities that do not subscribe to hetero- and cis-normativity
  • Intersex – an intersex body can show male as well as female gender characteristics, a clear classification to man or woman is neither possible nor desirable
  • Cisgender – term for people who identify with the gender they were born with
  • Heteronormativity – social assumption that biological and social sex always match and that sex can only be divided into men and women

Many people who find themselves in one or more of these categories are also part of the LGBTQI + community. This is committed to ensuring that all people are treated equally regardless of their sexuality. The LGBTQI + community fights for equal rights and tolerance for all.

Rainbow flag and other symbols

The rainbow flag, also known as the Pride flag, also plays an important role in the LGBTI + community. It is used as a sign of attachment or solidarity with the LGBTQ + scene. With this flag you show pride and / or support for all lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and queer people. By the way, the flag was designed by Gilbert Baker and each color has its own meaning. For example, red stands for life, orange for healing, green for nature, blue for harmony and purple for spirituality. In addition, the colorful flag is a symbol of the LGBTQI + community to reflect the wide range of different people and their diversity.

Have you ever seen other flags at Gay Pride? That’s possible! Today there are many different color variations of the flag, each with a different meaning. For example, there are also lesbian, asexual, transgender, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual and many other flags that flatter through the air in June.

Vienna Pride 2021

Vienna Pride 2021 will take place for around two weeks. The highlight is the Rainbow Parade on June 19th, which is taking place for the 25th time. This year the demonstration for acceptance, respect and equal rights will happen without vehicles, i.e. on foot, with a wheelchair or bicycle. Necessary safety precautions such as wearing an FFP2 mask and keeping a 2-meter distance from people outside of your household need to be observed.

You’re asking yourself: “When will Pride 2020 take place?” – Well, it starts at 2:00 p.m. at the Rathausplatz, and from 5:00 p.m. there will also be a closing rally with many speeches by activists and politicians.

Since we are unfortunately still in the middle of a pandemic, many events cannot take place as imposingly as in previous years. However, there are some very cool, virtual events that we don’t want to withhold from you:

Virtual Pride Run 2021

The virtual Pride Run will take place on June 18th and even if the participants do not share a start and finish line, they all have one thing in common: motivation!

By downloading the app you can run, walk or use a wheelchair to participate between 00:00 and 24:00 on this day, no matter where you are. Your route is being traced using GPS. In order for your run to be visible to the LGBTQI + community, all participants will receive a Pride Run shirt and a medal in advance.

Queer clubs and bars

There are several gay and lesbian bars in Vienna. The Felixxx and Matea Alta on Gumpendorfer Straße for example. Some clubs will soon open their doors again too, so: Why Not. For more cool locations, check out this list of the best queer clubs and bars in Vienna!

There are also some clubs and bars in Graz that place great value on a queer-friendly atmosphere. The Cafe Silber, the Postgaragen Cafe and the Vintage are places that you should definitely pay a visit!

Do you live in Innsbruck and are you looking for cool places and safe spaces in the nightlife? Have a look at the Bacchus or the Dom Cafe. Good music, cool people and lots of space to celebrate are guaranteed.

More Tipps

Due to the current developments of the corona virus, events such as the Diversity Ball, the Vienna Boylesque Festival and the Rainbow Ball cannot take place again until next year. However, that’s no reason to be sad or to have the celebrations of Pride Month taken away from you! Grab a few friends, march side by side at the Rainbow Parade, treat yourself to one or some more drinks in a gay or lesbian bar or simply have conversations – which are not held usually!

You don’t find it easy to celebrate Pride Month because you have not told anyone about your sexual orientation yet? Do not worry. Coming out might be a huge deal to you and that is totally fine. Only you can decide how you want to go about it and with whom you want to share it.

If you have any questions, need help or just want to learn more about queer topics, we have put together some LGBTQI + counseling centers for you.

We at STUWO want to offer everyone, regardless of their sexual identity and orientation, a nice and safe home. If you have any questions, concerns or special requests, you can contact us at any time!


We are happy to help!