June is pride month, a month-long celebration of various sexual orientations and gender identities across the rainbow. While LGBTQ issues continue to rise across the country, people who identify themselves across the spectrum can still celebrate in their own way.
A Brief History of Pride Month:
Before we list out some ways on how we can celebrate pride this year, we must first understand the history of the occasion and its significance.
The roots of the gay rights movement trace back to the early 1900s when a handful of individuals created various gay and lesbian associations. One such example is Henry Gerber’s Society for Human Rights, founded in 1920.
Since its founding, various groups have risen across the country following World War II. Many such groups have voiced their rights for recognition while protesting discrimination against gays in lesbians. In 1966, a sip-in event, where three men walked into a bar, stated they were gay and ordered drinks. When denied service, their movement made waves.
However, this isn’t just the only movement. As the years passed, civil rights were still denied to various LGBTQ individuals. One such harsh discrimination is when the New York Police Department occasionally raided bars and restaurants where multiple gay and lesbian individuals were known to gather and harass them for their identities.
One night, the LGBTQ individuals decided to fight back. After the cops raided Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village bar, many club patrons decided to fight back—no longer tolerating or accepting their discriminatory behavior.
Since then, the Stonewall Riots have inspired a movement for LGBTQ people across New York. In 1970, the first gay pride parade set off from Stonewall, where hundreds marched up 6th Avenue toward Central Park. However, such procession stretched at least 15 city blocks, encompassing thousands of people.
Since then, various pride parades have occurred in different cities nationwide. Some include Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago, which organized the same gay pride celebrations that year. However, America is only one of many countries to have pride celebrations, as Brazil, Spain, and Taiwan also have their festivals.
Ways to Celebrate Pride Month in 2023:
With these important events in mind, it’s safe to say that LGBTQ rights have significantly made waves in the media and will continue to do so. While some societies have generally become more “accepting” of queer rights, certain countries still have divided opinions on the issue.
Nevertheless, we can still find ways to celebrate pride, especially if we’re a rainbow member or an ally. Here are some creative and fun suggestions to celebrate pride this 2023:
1. Watch some essential LGBTQ documentaries.
Netflix has countless documentaries that showcase important LGBTQ history and figures. Some examples include “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson,” “All in My Family,” and “A Secret Love.”
If you’re not in the mood for documentaries, you can check out some LGBTQ movies instead, like “Call Me By Your Name.” However, you may find other films on different streaming services like “Brokeback Mountain” and “Moonlight.”
2. Support LGBTQ authors and their works.
Many LGBTQ authors are under fire because many people want to remove or ban specific works by LGBTQ authors or stories depicting LGBTQ relationships. Whatever the case, you can show silent support by purchasing such books.
Here are some suggestions:
- The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr. is a story set in the Deep South plantation during the antebellum time in Mississippi. Two enslaved young men seek refuge in each other until betrayal enters the midst and threatens their existence.
- Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters. This read is the author’s debut novel that centers around three women—transgender and cisgender—whose lives intermingle after an unexpected pregnancy forces them to confront issues surrounding gender, motherhood, and what it means to be a woman.
- Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin. Considered a gay classic, this 1956 novel centers on critical events of a life of an American man living in Paris. The book focuses on his life and feelings, particularly with an Italian bartender, Giovanni, whom he met at a Parisian gay bar.
3. Have a pride-themed private celebration with close friends and family.
Pride is a celebration for everyone, including allies! One way to enter the celebratory spirit is to have a private event at home. Consider putting up some pride-themed decor, an inspired pride-themed menu, and entertainment by playing tunes from gay icons.
4. Create something!
Are you a creative soul who wants a more laid-back celebration? Consider tapping into your creative side by making something, whether baking treats, arts, crafts, or even a song! The possibilities are endless!
5. Donate to organizations that support LGBTQ issues in your area.
One way to celebrate pride is to pay it forward by supporting charities and organizations that offer safety and security to LGBTQ individuals. Some examples of charities to donate to this month include Lambda Legal, Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network, and Pride Foundation.
June is Pride Month, where it’s celebrated across the country and other places worldwide. While society has slowly started to accept LGBTQ individuals, some pressing issues still target this vulnerable demographic—including censorship and lack of access to healthcare.
With these pressing issues, it’s safe to say that we need “Pride” more than ever, despite reaching significant milestones in the past decades. As the world transitions to a more global community, we need to accept that our difference makes us stronger and not weaker.
Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that world still needs more time to accept that people being a part of the rainbow is nothing to be ashamed of nor a valid reason to spread bigotry and prejudice. Despite our differences, we must center our motivations toward humane acts, which include decency, kindness, and eventual acceptance.
If you reside somewhere where you feel your safety may be compromised if you “come out.” It’s perfectly acceptable to prioritize your safety. Yes, pride is about being proud of who you are, but if you’re in a situation where it can be dangerous, it may be best to stay in the closet until you’re ready. Remember, it’s your identity, and no one can take it from you.