It’s June, which means it is officially Pride Month. Pride Month may be a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community—but you don’t have to be a part of the community to celebrate LGBTQ+ people and history. Let’s take a dive into five ways to educate yourself, support LGBTQ+ people and causes, and celebrate Pride Month in 2021.
What is Pride Month—and why is it so important?
Before we jump into how to celebrate Pride Month, let’s quickly touch on what Pride Month is and why it’s so important.
The origins of Pride Month date back to June 1970, when thousands of LGBTQ+ activities gathered in New York City to march on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising—known today as Christopher Street Liberation Day.
Over the past 50 years, Pride has grown from that single march to an annual, month-long celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. “Pride Month is incredibly important for the LGBTQ+ community because it educates people on the need for LGBTQ+ equality and acceptance,” says LGBTQ activist and writer Konrad Juengling. “Pride was originally a protest and was born out of the need for equality. Pride still has that same goal—to advocate, celebrate, and educate.”
As Juengling mentioned, Pride Month is incredibly important to LGBTQ+, but you don’t have to be LBGTQ+ yourself to celebrate! Here are a few ways to get involved with Pride Month this year—and support the LGBTQ+ community in the process:
Expose yourself to LGBTQ+ stories
“We all learn best through stories,” says Adam D. Blum, MFT, founder of the Gay Therapy Center, the largest private therapy provider for the LGBTQ community in the US. So, a great way to celebrate Pride Month—and learn more about the LGBTQ+ community at the same time?
Expose yourself to LGBTQ+ stories. “Consider reading a memoir written by an LGBTQ author such as Glennon Doyle, Augusten Burroughs, or Chasten Buttigieg,” says Blum. Or, if you’re more of a movie buff, consider watching films centered around LGBTQ+ figures, events, or storylines like Milk.
…and educate yourself on LGBTQ+ issues
The LGBTQ+ community still faces significant discrimination. For example, “people are often surprised to learn [under most conditions,] gay people cannot donate blood in the United States, can be fired from their place of employment in most states for being LGBTQ+, and private adoption agencies can turn LGBTQ+ couples away in certain states,” says Juengling.
Anti-trans bias and transphobia is also a source of contention, as in many states, transgender youth cannot receive the gender-affirming healthcare they need. And transgender girls’ ability to play on girls’ sports teams is currently under ferocious debate, with a possible ban being considered in no less than 34 states.
So, if you want to honor Pride Month, one of the best things you can do is educate yourself on LGBTQ+ issues—especially current ones. If you’re not sure where to start, getting up-to-date on the issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community today is a great jumping off point.
“A great way to learn about LGBTQ+ issues is by reading the LGBTQ+ news section of news sources,” says Juengling. “Or, if someone can’t find the LGBTQ+ section on their news site of choice, visit an LGBTQ+ news site; there are dozens to choose from!”
Support a LGBTQ-focused organization
During Pride Month, it’s important to support the LGBTQ+ community with your actions. And if you can, you should also consider supporting them with your dollars.
“Consider including at least one LGBTQ non-profit organization among the charities you support,” says Blum. If you have cash to spare for a Pride Month donation, research LGBTQ-focused organizations in your area—or consider donating to a larger organization, like GLAAD, The Trevor Project, or the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Get involved with a Pride Month event
As mentioned, one of the cornerstones of Pride Month is celebrating the LGBTQ+ community—and that means plenty of actual celebrations!
“Pride events are not only for LGBTQ+ people, but for those who support the community as well,” says Juengling. “Pride events, especially in larger areas, feature parades, booths, vendors, socialization, and activities. It helps LGBTQ+ to know there are people outside the community that support equality and accept them for who they are.”
If you want to get involved with a Pride Month event—and not just attend—consider volunteering; not only will it help the event get off the ground, it can also be a great way to make connections within the community.
“Spending just a few hours helping to build a float or staff a booth can be a way to feel a part of the community and a good way to meet people,” says Blum.
Become a better ally for the LGBTQ+ community
Arguably the best way you can celebrate and honor Pride Month is to learn how to be a better ally to the LGBTQ+ community.
While you can research ways to get involved on a larger scale, the best place to start practicing better allyship is within your own sphere of influence. “Start where you have some leverage,” says Blum. “Are you a leader within your family, social group, or church—and can you use that power to encourage more inclusive and friendly behavior? Do you have more seniority or influence in your workplace than others do—and can you use that power to encourage your company to promote more LGBTQ people within your organization?”
If you want to be a better ally to the LGBTQ+ people in your life—and the community as a whole—it’s important to “challenge discriminatory viewpoints, and be outspoken on the need for everyone to have equal rights and opportunities,” says Juengling.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.