Why PRIDE is Celebrated in June
Pride is more than a month-long party. It’s a self-affirming revolution.
You know what Pride is and what it stands for, but do you know the backstory? Allow me to enlighten you.
June is Pride Month, loyally dedicated to the celebration of LGBTQIA+ culture, the support of LGBTQIA+ rights, and the raised awareness of issues affecting the LGBTQIA+ community. Through the promotion of dignity and increased visibility of the LGBTQIA+ group, we can work toward a more loving world where people’s differences continue to be celebrated, not shamed.
This June marks the 52nd anniversary of the Pride parade to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969, where police raided a popular gay bar in NYC’s West Village, The Stonewall Inn. While these unwelcoming busts were commonplace at the time, this particular evening was different — the patrons of the bar fought back.
This lead to six days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement outside the bar on Christopher Street and neighboring streets, starting what is now known as the Stonewall Riots, marking the beginning of the modern Gay Rights Movement.
Another monumental change for the LGBTQIA+ community was the legalization of gay marriage in the United States, not becoming official until 2015. 2015! A mere seven years ago. After decades of struggles and setbacks, this was a huge win for humanity.
Through parades, marches, and other standout initiatives led by LGBTQIA+ members and advocates, Pride is an incredible example of acceptance and equality — showing all individuals that they matter. The goal, after all, is to improve the health, safety, and wellbeing of people who identify as LGBTQIA+.
According to NYC Pride, this year’s theme is “Unapologetically Us,” acknowledging the struggle and resilience (and might I add fabulousness) of the LGBTQIA+ community. In honor and support of everyone a part of this exceptional community, here are some easy (and fun!) ways to celebrate during the month of June.
Attend a Pride parade or event
This is perhaps the most obvious way to show support for LGBTQIA+ members, but a great one nonetheless. From small towns to major cities, you are sure to find a parade, festival, concert, or other outdoor event dedicated to Pride no matter where you live.
Volunteer or Donate
You can support your community through a variety of volunteer initiatives such as supporting a local LGBTQIA+ youth center or working a phone or text bank.
You can also raise money for one of the endless organizations aiming for equality of treatment like the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, The Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, or The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth.
Become an Advocate
Whether it’s standing by a friend or family member who newly identifies as LGBTQIA+ or peacefully protesting against hate crimes in your town, you can know you are making an impact by utilizing your voice for good by getting out there and being active.
Sometimes the simplest gestures are the best ones, like starting a conversation with others about their personal experiences of “coming out” stories. Doing so can spark larger discussions within your circle of friends, leading to action that benefits anyone feeling alone or lost with who they are and how they identify themselves.
You can also take the pledge to speak up against hate and intolerance by being part of initiatives like the It Gets Better Project, whose mission is to uplift, empower, and connect LGBTQ+ youth around the globe.
Support LGBTQIA+ Art & Culture
The LGBTQIA+ art community is known for its vibrancy, color, and influence. To show your support, you can catch an LGBTQIA+-themed play or movie, or visit an LGBTQIA+ art gallery. And you can always support an LGBTQIA+ artist by purchasing their album, attending a show, or cheering them on in real life or on social media.
Use Your Voice For Good
As time presses on and new issues arise, it can feel both liberating and defeating to celebrate something that never should have been in question in the first place. Through efforts of getting out into the world to empathize with those who are misunderstood about their place in the world, we can, little by little, make the world a happier, more peaceful place to be.
May the month of June serve as a reminder to accept others before we judge. To empathize instead of assume. To support instead of shame. And above all else, to celebrate for celebration’s sake.
Ashley is a Connecticut-based writer specializing in mental health & wellness. Her work has been featured in Forbes, POPSUGAR, Well + Good, and many more. She is a forever advocate of colorful jumpsuits, and believes our weirdness is what makes us great.