The Significance of Pride Month: As Explained by a Gay Man

By Kosoko Jackson

June is coming to an end, which means we only have a few days left to celebrate Pride Month. While Pride might mean parades, clever memes, and the season Finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race, it’s also so much more.

WHAT IS PRIDE?

Pride was created following the 1969 police raid of the Stonewall Inn, one of the few gay-friendly establishments in New York at the time.

Pissed off and annoyed by the regular police presence, members of the LGBTQ+ community stood up against the raid on the evening of June 28th, 1969. The protest grew to hundreds protesting throughout the night and is now widely considered as the first major protest for LGBTQ+ rights.

Thanks to the protest and the creation of many LGBTQ+ civil rights organizations, the first Pride Marches in June of the following year were established across the USA to commemorate the struggles and perseverance of the LGBTQ+ community.

It should be noted, the Stonewall Riots, and many LGBTQ+ movements throughout history were lead not only by transgender women, but transgender women of color.

WHAT’S GOING ON NOW?

We’ve come a long way since 1969, with the removal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, and giving all Americans the right to marry.

While we close out Pride Month (with celebrations this weekend in places like Chicago, New York, Seattle, and beyond), there’s plenty to celebrate, but also room to recognize the work left ahead.

In many states, adoption still isn’t possible for LGBTQ+ couples, transgender women of color are murdered at disproportionately higher rates, and restrictive bathroom bills disenfranchise transgender students in several states, without the protection of the Justice Department.

HOW CAN WE SUPPORT PRIDE?

Pride celebrations are an important marker to show how far we’ve come, and also to recognize that the fight for equality continues. Beyond this month, you can:

  • Donate your time or money to national or local LGBTQ+ organizations.
  • Be an ally for your LGBTQ+ friends (and family).
  • Stand up against LGBTQ+ discrimination by contacting elected officials.

Don’t forget — change happens both inside and outside the ballot box. So once you’ve retired your Pride outfit for the year, take two minutes to update your voter registration.

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