We’re about halfway into pride month now — but do you know what you’re celebrating? LGBT Pride Month is celebrated in June with various major cities around the world holding events and parades. The month stems from the 1969 Manhattan Stonewall riots that were a part of the Gay Liberation movement and also celebrates the 1979 March on Washington.
There’s so much you can do to celebrate Pride and support the LGBTQ community besides attending the huge parades and festivals. Anyone can celebrate whether you’re part of the community or just consider yourself an ally.
If you didn’t know the history of Pride before that introduction, that’s okay! Educate yourself using books, movies and exhibits. The Met holds amazing LGBTQ themed events throughout Pride — check out your local museums if you’re not in NYC.
Another kind of education that’s often overlooked is the opinion of actual LGBTQ people. Create thoughtful dialogue with other members of the community and gain perspectives from different points of view. Being a cisgendered, pansexual female, I lack the experiences of, say, a genderfluid transgender person and could educate myself by making conversation and exchanging ideas.
Support LGBTQ (friendly) centers
If your community has a LGBTQ center, chances are it’s underfunded. Donate money to their organization that will help organize events and seminars for all members of the community. These centers help LGBTQ youth in discovering themselves and provides a safe space for them if they can’t find anywhere else.
Also donate to national organizations like Planned Parenthood and the Family Equality Council along with using companies that have openly supported LGBTQ rights like Apple, Lyft, Starbucks and Skittles — to name a few.
Attend local events and show your colors
Road races, concerts and drag shows — look up how your town or city is celebrating Pride month. NYC, LA, Boston, Washington DC and other major cities host numerous huge events that celebrate the LGBT community — the FRNY Pride Run being one of them in New York.
Be sure to dress up in your best and brightest colors! Pride is all about not being afraid to be and express yourself while providing a community in which to do so.
Support your friends
If you’re out, but a friend can’t be at the moment, be there for them. Whether it be their family, their situation or any other reason, set apart time to spend with your friend in a space that’s totally safe for them to be themselves.
The A in our acronym is not only for asexual people and allies, but also those who cannot come out and wish to attend activities under the “ally” label. Don’t demonize closeted LGBTQ people — make them feel what their community couldn’t.
Remember the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting
Hold signs, create events and write letters for the victims — and their families — of the Pulse nightclub shooting that took place on June 12, 2016. Honor those who have died simply because they were being themselves and support their loved ones in the one year anniversary of the shooting.
Pulse isn’t the only LGBTQ center that’s been target — not even close — but it is the most recent. Find time to read up on and remember other incidents of violence against the LGBTQ community like Harvey Milk, Charlie Howard, Allen Schindler, Mark Carson and many more.
The LGBTQ community has had a rough history, but so have other oppressed groups. While you’re celebrating please remember to be intersectional — don’t be racist, sexist or xenophobic. Just be inclusive and have fun at Pride!