Happy Pride Month!
In June, we celebrate the LGBTQ+ community around the country, but Pride is about so much more than just one month of the year. One way to keep the spirit of Pride month going is to learn more about LGBTQ+ history and to make a concerted effort to support LGBTQ+ rights year-round.
Rainbows and parades aren’t the entire LGBTQ+ experience in this country. In June, it seems like everyone wants to loudly declare their support, but during the rest of the year, the absence of support is noticeable and heartbreaking to a lot of queer folks.
If you’re not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, you might not really know where to start. It’s hard to know what you don’t know, and we all have to start somewhere. It’s okay to need to learn things – that’s part of being a human! No one knows everything from birth. It takes time and experience, and focus to learn new things.
Taking the time to learn about the LGBTQ+ community, its history and the obstacles it’s currently facing is a meaningful way to show your support with more than just a social media post or a hashtag.
Being who you are is inherently political in a nation where LGBTQ+ rights and protections are being stripped away. It takes guts to know who you are and to tell that to the world.
Here’s a list of ways to show up during Pride month that you can continue throughout the year to show your support.
Get involved in community events for Pride
It’s important to show up in person for local events celebrating the LGBTQ+ community. Showing up not only ensures a fun, well-attended event, but it also is a statement showing the support the LGBTQ+ community has in your town. Do your best to attend any local events, like a parade or a mixer.
Patronize LGBTQ+ owned businesses
In June, lots of corporations stick rainbows on their products to try to capitalize on the celebration of Pride. While it’s important to loudly show support for the queer community, it’s more important to patronize businesses owned and operated by LGBTQ+ people, instead of giving that money to corporations that only talk about LGBTQ+ folks in June. When you support a small or local business, you’re helping someone’s dreams come to life and allowing them to keep creating and serving the community. It’s a win-win!
Support the work of local LGBTQ+ organizations year-round
Does your town or city have an LGBTQ+ community organization or mutual aid group? No matter what your interests are, there is probably an LGBTQ+-focused organization doing work that would be meaningful to you. Take some time to do some research on ways to get involved year-round. There are often organizations already doing important work that you can support or join to further their impact. Don’t let your support fade once June is over!
Educate yourself on the history of Pride in the United States
LGBTQ+ history isn’t something that a lot of us learned in school, although hopefully, that is changing. If you’re not familiar, take some time this month to look into the history of the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement in the US and how it was impacted by other civil rights movements of the 20th century. Learn more about the Stonewall Riots and the trans women of color who fought, and often died, for LGBTQ+ rights. Dig into the history of LGBTQ+ folks in the US before Stonewall. Queer folks have been around for as long as humans have been around, and there’s a lot of history and culture to discover.
Learn about LGBTQ+ rights currently under attack and make your voice heard
There is new legislation all over the country that is threatening to the LGBTQ+ community and the rights they’ve spent decades fighting for. A great way to show your support is to get in touch with your local government representatives to tell them how you feel about the issues. There are lots of LGBTQ+ educators out there, especially on social media, who have compiled lists of upcoming legislation and given action items for folks to complete. Remember, you have a voice, and you can use it!
Appreciate LGBTQ+ art and music
LGBTQ+ folks have created so much wonderful art and contributed to our culture in so many ways. The LGBTQ+ experience isn’t just about coming out. In fact, some people choose to never come out for a number of reasons. Take the time to celebrate the brilliant ways that queer folks have made the world a better place. It’s fun to have something to celebrate, isn’t it?
Happy Pride Month!