June is Pride Month in the United States, and this year’s celebrations are shaping up to be very different from the Pride events that we have come to know and love. Often when we think of Pride Month, we think of parades, vibrant colors, freedom of expression, and encouragement to be who you are. The celebrations themselves also provide an opportunity to look back at the significant events and figures within the LGBTQ+ community who have gotten us to where we are—that includes Stonewall, the historic riots that took place in June of 1969 and eventually became why we celebrate Pride Month in June.
When I think of Pride, I’m often reminded of the film The Greatest Showman and its song “This Is Me.” The following lyrics express why Pride remains important and why it still exists:
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me
Because despite progress made, there are still many parts of the country—and the world, for that matter—where members of the LGBTQ+ community face discrimination on daily basis. Whether that’s because of state laws that do not protect them in the workplace or deny them the right to adopt children, or because of local comments and backlash they face within their daily lives, it can be a battle each day to just be who you are, especially when there is a seemingly easier alternative to hide those parts of yourself.
But Pride Month encourages everyone to be who they are and “make no apologies,” and that’s especially important for the younger population—imagine being an LGBTQ+ teen living in one of those parts of the country where their community is villainized and seen as “not normal.” Celebrating Pride every year is important to show those young people that there are so many others out there who are just like them, leading healthy and happy lives.
So how do we celebrate Pride Month when the pandemic is forcing us all to stay inside and socially distance from one another? Even if the festivities must be different this year, there are still many ways to reflect on how far the community has come, as well as ways to promote further change and acceptance.
If you are an ally or LGBTQ+ yourself, you can go online, where there are countless resources to learn about the history of the community—one great option is the Library of Congress, who has compiled a list of events, audio and video clips, and other resources.
Another way to support and celebrate Pride Month is to give back to charitable causes that support the LGBTQ+ community. The Trevor Project, for example, is a not-for-profit organization that offers life-saving, life-affirming programs and services to LGBTQ+ youth.
"it’s important to share the actual feeling of pride we have inside ourselves for others to see"
Finally, a great way to celebrate Pride Month is to be personally open and vocal about your experience as an ally or a member of the LGBTQ+ community—it’s a relatively easy way to show support as well, thanks to our social-media-centric world. Sharing who you are and how you’ve felt with others in your social network can be a powerful statement and provide insight that many might not realize. This June, I would encourage people to use the hashtag #PrideInside, not just because we are likely spending Pride indoors this year, but because it’s important to share the actual feeling of pride we have inside ourselves for others to see. It may not be the Pride Month we all long for, but in the words of Tim Gunn, during this pandemic we’re just going to have to “make it work.”
About the AuthorMore Content by Ryan Meehan