Pride is the joyous feeling of being celebrated, loved, and accepted for one’s true self. It fosters support and unity for the LGBTQ+ community. While different cities celebrate Pride in various months throughout the year, in the States, we recognize June as Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising and the first Queer Liberation March. Despite victories that have brought us closer to equality, the LGBTQ+ community needs your continued support. LGBTQ+ people continue to face discrimination in daily life and the workplace; Queer youth are among the highest at risk of suicide; and we face the highest number of anti-transgender bills in history. Supporting the LGTBQ+ community is as important now as ever, whether you are an Ally or a Queer person yourself.
Show your support by wishing Queer people a “Happy Pride.”
Wishing someone a Happy Pride is an act of affirmation: it’s a way of telling Queer people in your life that you see, accept, and celebrate them for who they truly are. To understand why this is important, here is a great intro to the history of Pride.
Take actions that support the LGBTQ+ community most.
Adding a rainbow badge to your profile photo is a nice way of visibly demonstrating your support, but actions like calling out discrimination and standing up to intolerance may be more impactful to show your support for the LGBTQ+ community. To truly support someone as an ally, your focus should be on actions that make people feel supported over actions that make you feel good.
Learn about Queer identity and history on your own.
Queer people spend much of their lives explaining themselves to people who don’t understand. You can help ease this burden by committing to learning about Queer identity and history on your own. It can be daunting to learn so much, so start with a single topic you’d like to know more about, such as the history of the Stonewall uprising or the importance of pronouns. If you start with something you find interesting, your natural curiosity will inspire you to dig deeper as you learn more.
Watch, read, and listen to LGBTQ+ media.
Not only can LGBTQ+ media be an excellent educational tool, but it can also provide unique insight into the lives and experiences of Queer people. Even if you’re consuming fictional content, studies have shown that engaging with fiction increases empathy. It’s also a great way to support LGBTQ+ creators and artists–even leaving a positive review or simply adding to their total streams can be supportive. You can follow our monthly Streaming Queer column for what to watch, or our seasonal Queerist MixTape for what to listen to.
Advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.
As you learn about Queer culture on your own, it’s equally important to share your knowledge and understanding with people who might not understand yet. By educating others on LGBTQ+ topics and issues, your advocacy supports us in gaining acceptance and equality. You may also be in a unique position to reach someone who doesn’t know any LGBTQ+ people personally but with whom you have a strong relationship. Having these impactful conversations can feel overwhelming, but there are ways you can prepare for them. It’s important to recognize that you may not change someone’s mind in one sitting, but you can plant a seed of tolerance and give them the tools they need to help that seed grow into acceptance.
Vote for candidates who support LGBTQ+ issues and rights.
LGBTQ+ rights have come a long way in the past decade, but there are still prevalent threats to LGBTQ+ equality today. If you’re privileged with the right to vote, you can support the LGBTQ+ community by exercising that right to vote for candidates that prioritize positive LGBTQ+ policies. These candidates can be supportive Allies or Queer candidates themselves. Know that some candidates will voice support for the LGBTQ+ community but act in ways that harm them, so consider a candidate’s record as well as their campaign platform. Even after your preferred candidate is elected, you can always contact their office to make your voice heard and ensure they’re delivering on their campaign promises.
Volunteer your time to support LGBTQ+ non-profit organizations.
Help is needed in many forms, so play to your strengths and volunteer with causes you’re passionate about or areas in which you have expertise. Encouraging friends to volunteer with you is a great way to amplify your impact.
Combat intolerance by avoiding anti-LGBTQ+ businesses.
It may not be ideal, but we live in a capitalist society, so where we choose to spend our money matters. Large businesses have a major influence in shaping important policies, and when you spend money at a business that donates to anti-LGBTQ causes, those profits aid harmful anti-LGBTQ+ initiatives. Consider the values of businesses and organizations you may spend at, and, whenever possible, choose to support businesses that support positive LGBTQ+ attitudes and policies.
Support LGBTQ+ people and organizations by following their social media.
Who you follow on social media is a reflection of who you are or want to become. Following an account is an invitation of their views and values into your life. By following LGBTQ+ people and organizations, you’re exposing yourself to Queer points of view regularly, which will make the steps above easier to put into action. Representation from all identities in the LGBTQ+ community is important to ensure you’re learning about various issues and topics.
Listening is the best way to support the LGBTQ+ community.
LGBTQ+ people are the best source of truth when explaining their own unique experiences, so keep an open mind and remember to listen for authentic and diverse Queer voices. It’s especially important to listen to Trans people and people of color, as they are disproportionately affected by issues facing the LGBTQ+ community. When we listen to each other, the world becomes a safer, more accepting, and inclusive place for all.
Happy Pride from all of us at Queerist!
Pride Month is only 30 days long, but the march for equality continues throughout the year. Challenge yourself to support the LGBTQ+ community throughout the year, and prepare to get uncomfortable. We can’t grow if we stay in our comfort zones, and the capacity to learn and grow is one of the most important assets an LGBTQ+ Ally can have.