June is global Pride Month, and it’s a fantastic time to engage and celebrate our LGBTQIA+ communities, near and far!
It’s also an opportunity to develop our understanding and education around LGBTQIA+ experiences, so we can keep building kind, empathetic and positive communities we can ALL be a part of – ALL year long!
This shouldn’t be reserved for June alone, and while it’s a great way to set some foundations, you can keep the Pride spirit alive all year round through a few simple activities.
First Things First: What is Pride Month?
Every year in June, the LGBTQIA+ community and allies celebrate in a number of different ways. Events are held across the globe to recognise, share and celebrate the positive influence and contribution of LGBTQIA+ people, and provide opportunities for everyone to openly embrace the wonderfully diverse communities we’re a part of.
Why June? Because June is when the Stonewall Riots took place, back in 1969. The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the gay community in response to a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of Manhattan New York City.
You can read more about the history of Pride Month and what it means today in this really informative article from Forbes.
Pride month is also an opportunity to protest and raise political awareness of current issues peacefully. Parades, street parties, community events, talks and educational workshops are all main activities to get involved with during this month-long celebration.
5 Ways to Celebrate All Year Long
1. Explore Gender Diverse Terms to Broaden Your Inclusive Language
Sex, gender and sexuality are terms that, although connected can mean different things to different people and are now used interchangeably. It means more people describe themselves in different ways, beyond being a ‘boy’ or a ‘girl’. The cool thing is, we now have a fantastic,, diverse set of language and words to be inclusive, kind and supportive of others and how they like to be described. You can check out a glossary of LGBTQIA+ terms for more information here.
2. Develop Some New Literary Tastes
Reading and literature are amazing ways to help us develop and educate our knowledge of other experiences. They can help us build empathy for others and become more in tune with the challenges and struggles that some people in our communities go through, just be who they want to be. There are some courageous and brilliant books by and about queer, trans and LGBT experiences that are well worth reading. Check out this list for a start.
3. Volunteer At Organisations Supporting Local LGBTQIA+ Initiatives
Volunteering is a great way to support your community, show you care and find proactive ways to help make shared places (such as schools, community centres, public recreational areas etc) safe and inclusive places. If you’re keen to keep building on your own education and ways to be an ally, these organisations can also offer guidance. You could volunteer online or for a local organisation, and you can find opportunities near you through Volunteering Australia.
4. Ask Questions and Show Up When You Can
Being an ally to our LGBTQIA+ friends and community means showing up, even when it might be challenging. If a friend or family member expresses a view that you know is wrong, unkind or biased, take a moment to question them. You don’t need to tell them you think they’re wrong if you think it might lead to a big argument, but you can ask them why they think that way and see if they want to reflect and have a conversation. You can also set safety boundaries by telling people who speak in these ways that you won’t tolerate it around you and leave the room when they do express these opinions. These non-confrontational actions can send a clear and powerful message.
5. Don’t Forget the True Meaning of Pride.
Pride is, above all else, a celebration. We should celebrate our diversity and be proactive in helping everyone around us live the life they want, and that makes them happy. You can do this in lots of different ways. From making conscious choices to purchase products/goods from LGBTQIA+ positive companies, celebrating and sharing diverse experiences, stories and narratives across social media, and making sure you explore your own education and potential biases in proactive ways.
Don’t see Pride Month as your one-stop shop for celebrating all things Pride. Use this month as a catalyst to keep exploring, learning, celebrating, and sharing the love all year long. There are lots of resources available online and lots of different ways to keep showing up – no matter who you are or how you want to live your life.