Learn about the history of Pride Month and find numerous ways to celebrate and recognize the LGBTQ+ community this year.
How did Pride Month Start?
When celebrating Pride Month, we must first recognize its origins. Pride Month dates back to the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. This uprising marked a turn in the gay liberation movement in the United States, as members of the LGBTQ+ community fought back against police. In yet another raid of a gay bar, patrons chose to stand up against this injustice, sparking a new era of resistance.
The Stonewall riot inspired LGBTQ+ communities across the country, leading to the creation of organizations like the Gay Liberation Front. A year after the riot, on June 28, 1970, the first Pride Parade started at the Stonewall Inn.
Following this, in the United States, the last Sunday in June was celebrated as “Gay Pride Day”. Though, in major cities, the day soon expanded to cover a month of celebrations.
Today, Pride Month is a time to celebrate those in the LGBTQ+ community and recognize their impact on history. Memorials are held during this month to honor those who have died due to hate crimes or from HIV/AIDS. Though, many other forms of celebration include parades, parties, concerts, and more. And, there are various ways to recognize this month in your own way!
1. Learn about LGBTQ+ history and terms
To start, you should educate yourself on the definitions of LGBTQ+ and common terms associated with it. There are many LGBTQ+ organizations that offer free educational resources, such as:
- GLSEN – A group of teachers founded GLSEN in 1990 in the hopes of inspiring supportive education and uplifting student-led movements. They work to empower students and foster bully- and harassment-free school environments.
- Equality Federation – Equality Federation focuses on building power through a network of state-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer advocacy organizations. They work on non-partisan issues that affect how LGBTQ+ people experience the world.
- The Center – Since its founding in 1983, The Center serves as a resource hub for the LGBTQ+ community. It provides information and support for all identities.
- National LGBTQ Task Force – The National LGBTQ Task Force “advances full freedom, justice and equality for LGBTQ people.” They focus on informing activists across the nation in hopes of ending discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.
- Gender Justice League – Gender Justice League works to heighten our capacity to address cissexism, transphobia, homophobia, and more. They want to improve civil and human rights for trans and gender-diverse people through advocacy and community.
- National Resource Center on LGBTQ+ Aging – This site is America’s first and only technical assistance resource center with a focus on improving the lives of LGBTQ+ elders. They provide training, technical assistance, and educational resources for and about older adults in the LGBTQ+ community.
2. Read Books by LGBTQ+ Writers
Continue learning about the LGBTQ+ community, or just enjoy some fiction written by members! Business Insider provides a list of 43 must-read books by LGBTQ+ writers, but here are some highlights:
- Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley – Struggling to make ends meet for her and her brother, Kiara falls into sex work in East Oakland. Though, her world takes another turn when she surfaces as a key witness in a scandal within the Oakland Police Department.
- Your Driver is Waiting by Priya Guns – Inspired by the film “Taxi Driver”, this novel focuses on a rideshare driver who falls in love with a passenger. As their romance continues, the passenger does something that drastically changes their relationship.
- Is It Hot in Here (Or Am I Suffering for All Eternity for the Sins I Committed on Earth)? by Zach Zimmerman – In this memoir, comedian Zach Zimmerman explores the pros and cons of exchanging a God-fearing identity for one of atheism and queerness. This work is a good choice for comedy fans and short story and essay collection readers.
- This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone – After finding a letter labeled “Burn before reading”, an agent of the Commandment begins a correspondence with a rival agent. What comes next is a love story that spans time and space as these agents fall in love despite their warring factions.
- Pageboy by Elliot Page – Oscar-nominated actor Elliot Page shares his story of transformation against the background of Hollywood fame. This inspiring memoir deals with connection, family, and finding one’s true self.
3. Watch Films/Shows About LGBTQ+ Characters
If you’re not much of a reader, another option is watching documentaries or fictional works made by or about LGBTQ+ characters.
- Disclosure – This piece analyzes transgender depictions in film and television, examining how Hollywood reinforces gender anxiety.
- Pose – This show, set in late 80s-early 90s New York, deals with ball culture and the gay and trans community.
- The Bisexual – This show provides an honest portrayal of the confusion surrounding one of the most overlooked facets of queer sexuality.
- Feel Good – This witty show follows a gay, recovering addict comedian and a previously straight teacher. Viewers see them fall deeply in love while struggling with addiction, sexuality, and finances.
- But I’m a Cheerleader – This satirical film pokes fun at puritanical homophobia, as the main character (who is a lesbian) is sent to conversion therapy. Despite her parents’ efforts, though, she comes to embrace her sexuality.
4. Support Queer-Owned Businesses
With various boycotts against Pride collections this year, it is especially important to shop from queer-owned businesses. Get a gift for yourself or someone you know and help an LGBTQ+ person!
- TomboyX – The founders of TomboyX wanted to create clothing that is needed but often not provided by mainstream brands. They offer bras, underwear, swim apparel, and more that those of all genders can feel comfortable in.
- Malin + Goetz – Inspired by inclusivity, this brand offers products for every skin type, tone, and gender. Their mission is to create high-quality skincare and candles that fit a modern lifestyle.
- Abprallen – Trans founder Erik Carnell started this brand as a way to embrace the parts of him that he’s been told not to love. He juxtaposes comfortable pastel colors with spooky images, finding something magical in the unknown.
- Culture Flock – The founders of this brand create and design apparel, goods, and accessories for consumers of all colors, sexualities, and genders.
5. Listen to your LGBTQ+ Friends and Family
The easiest thing you can do this month is be there for your queer friends and family. With nearly 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in state legislatures across the country, queer people deserve to feel celebrated and heard this Pride Month.
So, whether you’re a parent, sibling, or friend of an LGBTQ+ person, or just an ally, there are many ways to show support this year. Have fun with it and continue supporting the LGBTQ+ community all year round!