LGBTQ+ communities all over the world celebrate Pride month in June. During this time, people come together to celebrate the freedom to be themselves. Many Pride events involve large parades with music and dancing. You’ll see people dressed up in colorful outfits or wearing clothes and accessories in rainbow designs as an homage to Pride’s rainbow flag, which reflects the various groups in the community. Also, the events are a great opportunity to champion LGBTQ+ rights and raise awareness of the discrimination and harassment some people continue to face due to their gender identity or sexual orientation.
In case you aren’t aware, LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. Queer is used as an umbrella term for non-cisgender or heterosexual individuals. The plus sign represents all gender identities and sexual orientations that aren’t particularly covered by the five initials.
The beginning of Pride gatherings can be traced back to the long and bumpy journey of individuals who have struggled to overcome prejudice and receive acceptance for who they are. In particular, the Stonewall uprising became a catalyst for the gay rights movement. On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular hang-out place that welcomes all individuals regardless of their gender identities. Patrons and nearby residents retaliated by throwing objects at officers as they loaded people into police vans to be arrested. Eventually, it became a full-blown riot followed by protests that lasted for five days. A year later, organizers held the first Pride event to pay homage to this significant event in New York, and it has since then become an annual tradition.
Today, Pride events welcome anyone who sexually identifies themselves outside the traditional gender binary. But you’ll see other people outside the community joining too. You may see allies from outside the LGBTQ+ community participating in the festivities. If you can’t attend a Pride event this year but want to advocate for the community, don’t fret. There are different ways you can still express your support for LGBTQ+ people. Here are some methods you can show your support for Pride month.
One way to show your support for Pride month is to shop at local businesses owned and run by LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. There are a lot of brands that promote inclusivity by offering products, like beauty and fashion items, that all individuals can use regardless of their gender identity. Also, some brands can help you get ready for Pride month as they offer personalized lanyards, shirts, socks, scarves, and other items in the popular rainbow design. This way, you can express your support to the many groups of the LGBTQ+ community.
Even if you’re quite knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ history and current events, it’s a good idea to continue learning. You can find a lot of information about pronouns, sexual orientations, and gender identity terms and how to best use them. You can also watch documentaries about different social movements involving the LGBTQ+ community such as Paris Is Burning and The State of Marriage. Whatever you choose to do, make sure to keep yourself updated and well informed about the challenges as well as the accomplishments of people in the LGBTQ+ community.
Another effective way to stay updated with current issues is to listen to other people’s LGBTQ+ experiences. Find out about their struggles and success stories as members of the LGBTQ+ community. It will help give you more insights into other people’s lives as well as learn how to best support them.
Additionally, you can speak to those beyond your immediate relationships. For example, reach out to older and younger members of the community, whether in person or through social media. It’s one way to give them a safe space to be heard. Listen to the aging LGBTQ+ people’s stories of resilience and find out what they want out of the current movement. You can also ask their thoughts about what they want younger generations to know. Hearing the perspectives of people with more experiences can help remind you of how social movements have affected their lives and may inspire you to look for better ways you can support the LGBTQ+ community.
In contrast, listening to the youth opens up your mind to the current struggles they’re facing, whether at home, school, or work. Talking to younger LGBTQ+ members also provide an opportunity to help them envision a successful future despite the existing discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. With this in mind, consider making Pride month a dedicated time to meet more people and learn about their lives. But remember to keep the connections you’ve made even after June.
Although Pride month is a great way to celebrate each person to be themselves, supporting the LGBTQ+ community can go beyond June. Being a true ally of these individuals means supporting them all year long and one way to do this is to learn about the policies and laws that impact them in your state. Look for local legislation that affects LGBTQ+ residents in your state. But don’t stop there, call your state representatives and voice out your concerns about any discriminatory legislation or advocate policies that can protect LGBTQ+ rights.
Finding ways how you can make your workplace inclusive is another method to extend your support for the LGBTQ+ community beyond Pride month. Even if you believe your company prioritizes fairness and equality among employees with different gender identities, actively look for any room for improvement. Begin by reviewing your organization’s policies. Check if LGBTQ+ employees are protected against discrimination. You can also make sure everyone gets the same benefits when it comes to pensions and parental leaves. Suggest an inclusive workplace by recommending having gender-free restrooms and adding preferred pronouns in employee emails.
Additionally, advocate diversity training programs to ensure your colleagues are well informed about issues facing their LGBTQ+ coworkers and how they can help. To help create a more inclusive environment at work, call out discrimination and microaggressions against colleagues when you see them and hold people responsible. When creating a more inclusive space at work, be sure to consult and collaborate with your LGBTQ+ coworkers.
If you want to make a difference in the lives of other LGBTQ+ people, support nonprofit organizations that advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Consider donating to groups like the Human Rights Campaign, which is a political lobbying organization that focuses on protecting and expanding the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. You can also give money to The Trevor Project, which concentrates on suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ+ and questioning youth.
Apart from donating money, you can get involved with LGBTQ+ organizations by volunteering. Check out the local community center helping LGBTQ+ people or sign up as a crisis counselor with The Trevor Project.
Pride month is filled with many events as a way to celebrate everyone, regardless of their gender identity, and to commemorate the turning point of the gay rights movement. It also offers people an opportunity to support the LGBTQ+ community. Whether you’re a member or an ally of this community, you have different ways to express your support during Pride month. Moreover, you don’t have to limit your efforts in June. You can continue advocating for LGBTQ+ people and their rights throughout the year using any of these suggestions.
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