Happy Pride Month, my LGBT+ and ally friends! June 1st kicks off Pride Month, where rainbow flags fly everywhere, Pride celebrations are held, and there is a high chance of someone blasting Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way”. If you just busted out singing to yourself “I’m on the right track baby I was born this way!”, please note that you are not alone (I did too!). You may be asking yourself questions like “What makes this month out of the year the reason why we celebrate this, and why is it in June?” or “How can I celebrate this without going to a Pride festival?” or even “What does Pride month mean for someone who is LGBT+?” Not to worry my kings, queens, and gender non-binary friends, for your resident gay is here with answers!
Why June for Pride Month?
June has been known as pride month since as early as the 1950s, but later became a larger movement when the Stonewall Riots took place June 28th, 1969. Some say the first Pride event was a riot, and it did indeed start as one! The Stonewall Riots were the biggest push for LGBT+ rights, as people were tired of having their safe havens destroyed because of how they identified and dressed. The year after, a Pride March was started to help remember that night which would later culminate to what we know as Pride today.
In 2000, President Bill Clinton officially declared June as Pride Month, which would later be expanded upon in 2008 by President Barack Obama to include our trans* friends. Many today forget that the Stonewall Riots were led by trans* women and gender non-conforming people who are also known as QTPOC (Queen Trans* People of Color). It’s surprising that it took almost 40 years for trans* and gender non-conforming individuals to be recognized in Pride month. Most Pride events in the past 5 years have started adding trans* marches as part of the festivities. If you ever get the opportunity to attend a trans* march, I encourage you to do so. It is truly beautiful to see these individuals, their friends, and family come to support them and the crowds cheering them on. It takes a lot of courage to come out, and seeing these individuals finally get a chance to be recognized specifically is incredible.
How can I celebrate Pride without going to Pride festivals?
There are many ways that you can celebrate Pride from home! As more precautions are being lifted, Pride festivals have come back in June, and some may come in October (Orlando, FL’s pride festival for example takes place in early October). If you are someone like myself and still feel uneasy about being around large groups of people, do not worry as I have ideas for you! This can include: flying a rainbow or other identity flag outside your home (or inside your home if your home community isn’t inclusive), decorating your car in rainbow gear, and driving around the community saying “Happy Pride!”, attending virtual Pride festivals, volunteering with your local LGBT+ organizations, having a LGBT+ movie night, or having your friends who are allies and LGBT+ come over for a fun party or LGBT+ themed TTRPG day!
Your fun day (or night) can include: creating an LGBT+ themed playlist, playing games that include LGBT+ characters, buying inexpensive decorations such as beads or flags (dollar section at Target has all the identities represented), or colored paper serving products. Also don’t forget the food! You can create food that represents the different colors of the different identity flags in the LGBT+ community.
The first photo shows two frosted cookies, one in the rainbow flag the other in the bisexual flag. If you’re not a fan of frosted cookies, cakes work great too (and are fun to color the cake and frost)! If you’re not a fan of sweets, google can be utilized to look up foods that represent the different flags. For example, the Pansexual flag can be represented using light blue Gatorade with yellow lemons and watermelon, while the Trans* flag can be displayed using a bagel or good crusty white bread with cream cheese dyed in light blue, topped with smoked salmon or lox. There are so many possibilities! If colored food is not your forte, throwing a potluck and just having friends over works just as well.
This tattoo was my second tattoo that I got in honor of my mom surviving breast cancer, my strength to come out, and the heart symbolizing love. What does Pride mean for someone who is LGBT+?
Pride has many interpretations for all. Some like Pride festivals, while others do not. Some also do not celebrate Pride month at all. Personally, I view Pride month as a celebration! Pride is also a chance to help educate others about the symbolic movements of this month, why more needs to be done, how we can create change, and also how we can honor those lost as the Pulse tragedies happened in June. More about Pulse will be coming soon.
I’m fortunate that I can be an openly gay woman. A woman who does stock up on some rainbow merchandise as more and more stores are creating LGBT+ themed items, but who also makes sure those who can’t celebrate at home have a place to celebrate with me. There are more to Pride than the rainbows, the glitter, and all that jazz. Pride is also about celebrating love!
Happy Pride everyone!