More than four decades ago, the Stonewall Riots in New York City became the historic scene of a battle between that city's Greenwich Village gay population and the city police department.
Although few could have known it at the time, the local street disturbance soon sparked a civil rights movement that reverberated throughout the world beginning with the New York City Gay Pride Parade in 1970.
Today, international public shows of gay pride continue to commemorate that fateful New York day in June in far-flung places from Amsterdam to Azerbaijan.
"Loud and proud" is usually the order of the day, with parades led by local celebrities and politicians, participants in wild and outlandish parade costumes marching or dancing under the iconic rainbow Gay Pride banner.
the colorful party atmosphere, the festivities also help raise public consciousness in a serious and continuing struggle to grant people of all sexual orientation the basic right of equal protection under the law.
Just up ahead, check out a list of major cities kicking off their festivities throughout the summer this year in the US and around the planet, drawing millions of participants and spectators annually in a spirit of close-knit community and celebration: