It’s that time of year again! With June being Pride Month, there are many ways to become an ally, learn more about LGBTQ+ rights, and partake in enjoyable activities.
History of Pride
When it comes to the history of Pride and LGBTQ+ rights, there is a great deal to unpack. One of the main things to focus on would be the Stone Hill riots. It all began on June 28th, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village. The police raided the club which resulted in the staff and neighborhood civilians rioting outside on Christopher street. The protests lasted for about six days and were intended to demand the rights of this community in establishments and out in public. The leader of the riots, Marsha P. Johnson who was a black, trans, bisexual women, made the message as clear as day — people should have the freedom to go out and be open about their sexual orientation without the fear of being arrested or unfairly targeted.
Bisexual activist Brenda Howard is credited as the “founder” of Pride Month. She can also be referred to as ‘The Mother of Pride.” Howard was another activists who organized Gay Pride week and the Christopher Street Liberation Day parade, shortly after the riots. Today, it is popularly known as the New York City Pride March. Shortly after this catalyst of change, marches around the world began to form. Not to mention former president Bill Clinton was the first to recognize “Pride Month” in the ‘99 and 2000s.
Evolution of Pride Flags
When it comes to the LGBTQ+ flag, it’s more than just a traditional rainbow. Each branch of this community has its own flag and own colors. For example, the Bisexual flag is depicted with two wider stripes that are pink and blue, to represent the male and female genders. A smaller purple stripe in the middle represents sexual attraction to both men and women.
The gender fluid flag on the other hand encompasses all gender identities According to pride.com, the pink stands for femininity, blue for masculinity, purple for masculinity and femininity, white for lack of gender and black for all genders.
The current flag, or what’s known as the Progress Daniel Quasar created Pride Flag. He identifies as non-binary and and designed the flag similar to the meaning behind the gender fluid flag — the white, pink, and light blue reflect the colors of the transgender flag, while the brown and black stripes represent people of color and those lost to AIDS. There was more emphasis put on people of color and other members of the community besides the standard “gay, lesbian, and bisexual”.
We’ve come a long way since then.
How can I be an ally?
What makes someone a great ally is their ability to be sympathetic to those who have faced discrimination. It is someone who supports rights, equality, and isn’t afraid to defend their beliefs that could face criticism and scrutiny. It is someone willing to come to the defense of others online or in person.
You can become a better ally by practicing the following:
- Doing your research
- Not being a performative activist when it benefits you
- Being prepared to be uncomfortable when discussing difficult topics
- Addressing your personal biases
- Truly listening to different opinions
- Recognizing your privileges
How can I celebrate?
Different communities celebrate Pride Day on different days throughout June. This is one of the more popular and obvious ways to celebrate. Besides the famous pride celebration in NYC, there are pride marches occurring everywhere around the world. To find one in your area, check out this pride calendar!
Donating or volunteering to LGBTQ youth is another great way to celebrate. Check out this charity navigator for a comprehensive list of organizations that even provide a rating on service, advocacy, healthcare, and social support.
Using Netflix, Hulu, or the streaming platform of your choice, to get educated about LGBTQ+ rights in film and television. Streaming platforms have gone as far as adding a section dedicated to the community, which shows more change and representation.
Pride isn’t solely about rainbows and self expression. It’s about living your authentic truth and feeling satisfied with the version of yourself. Don’t ever let anyone dim your light because of your sexual and gender orientation. If you are not part of the LGBTQ+ community, support the community in any way you can. Those who aren’t supporters should move on.
Pride. (2018, June 28). HISTORY. https://www.history.com/pride
Pride Month – June. (2021, May 31). National Today. https://nationaltoday.com/pride-month/