Happy Pride Month!
June is all about celebrating the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer, and plus) community!
June has been officially recognized as Pride Month since 1999, when President Clinton declared June to be "Gay & Lesbian Pride Month." But June has had demonstrations and celebrations for the Queer community going all the way back to 1970.
In June of 1969, a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village in New York City was raided by the police. In the 50s and 60s, there were many laws in place that made homosexuality illegal, so police raids on underground gay establishments were not uncommon, but at Stonewall Inn, the raid turned violent as the gay community, tired after years of discrimination, resisted arrest. Riots broke out in Greenwich Village and the gay rights movement, in its infancy in the US, was kicked into high gear. In 1970, the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, making it the first Pride Month celebration.
So, here we are in 2022.
If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community, this is your month to shine (of course, let's be real, you should be shining every month). If, like me, you aren't in the Queer community, this is your month to dig into being a straight ally.
I'm proud to be a straight ally. To be an ally is, at a minimum, to accept gender equality and sexual identity equality and to stand against homophobia (and its cousins, biphobia and transphobia). To be an ally is to support members of the Queer community. Anyone can be an ally.
So, fellow allies, here are some things we can make an effort to do this Pride Month to support our Queer community members:
Listen to understand. If you know someone who is Queer and wants to share their story, listen to them! Often, their stories are hard to listen to. They can involve, among other things, parental abandonment, job discrimination, outright rude and homophobic comments from people they know, and assault. Listen to these stories, knowing that they may make you uncomfortable, and listen deeply. Ignore that reflex to question them or even doubt their experience, as your reaction can have a major impact on your storyteller.
Consume Queer media. Pick your poison: books, movies, tv shows, podcasts. Now find one that was written by/was produced by/stars/is hosted by a Queer person. A great book is Outlawed by Anna North.
Attend Pride Month events. There's strength in numbers! Even if you personally aren't Queer, attending a parade in your area shows your support and makes the organizers of the event (who are usually Queer) very happy. Turnout is a huge indicator of the success of an event!
This is by no means an exhaustive list on what to do to be a good ally, but it's a starting point. Always remember to uplift and amplify voices who need it!
And I wish a VERY VERY VERY HAPPY PRIDE MONTH TO MY LGBTQ+ NETWORK!