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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Gay Pride Month: How to Participate

Gay Pride Month is celebrated each year in June to to recognize the impact that Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender individuals have had on local, state, national, and international history and community.  It is also a perfect opportunity for Straight and cisgender individuals to show their support (or make it clear that they are an "ally") to the LGBT movement.

I am an Ally, loud and proud.  I support my fellow human's rights to love who they love, determine their own gender, and break down stereotypes.  I believe that the right to love is not only a civil right, but a human right.  



A Brief History of LGBT Month...
Originally, Gay Pride Day was celebrated on the last Sunday of June,but as support grew for the movement and as more cities, local municipalities, and activist groups created events commemorating the day it spread to encompass the entire month of June.   Now, Gay Pride Month events attract millions to cities like Los Angles, New York and Washington DC.

But why June and why Pride Month? On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a Mafia-run gay bar on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, New York and acted as the catalyst for the beginning the LGBT Movement.  In the 1950s and 60s police raids on gay bars were frequent, but something happened at the Stonewall Inn that hadn't happened elsewhere: police failed to contain the the crowd and quickly lost control which incited a riot.  Over the course of the coming days more riots and protest erupted and activists were able to organize into groups, making being arrested for being openly gay less likely.

The following year, Gay Pride marches in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago commemorated the riots starting the annual tradition of protesting, marching, and rallying on the anniversary of June 28th.  

It wasn't until June 1st, 2014 that Gay Pride Month got a huge political push with backing from President Obama.  On that day, President Obama called on Americans to eliminate prejudice “everywhere it exists,” declaring June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.  

As progress spreads from State to State, as justice is delivered in the courtroom, and as more of our fellow Americans are treated with dignity and respect – our Nation becomes not only more accepting, but more equal as well”

Now, just 3 years later, Gay Pride Month is celebrated almost world wide with marches in Israel, Madrid, Poland, Chile, Germany, Amsterdam and even events in Cuba are being held to support the LGBT community.  

Unfortunately, Homophobia and Transphobia are still present, even as close as our own back yards. There are currently over 70 countries that criminalize same sex relationships and homosexuality remains punishable by death in a handful of nations.  

How Can You Show Your Support?
We must each do our part, this month and every month, to show our support for the LGBT movement.  Here is a list of things you can do:

1. Call, email and write to your local, state, and national representatives to tell them about your support for the LGBT community and legislation supporting their equality.

2. Teach Your Children Equality.  The most important thing we can do is to teach our children how to love, respect, and admire diversity.

3. Support advocacy groups by sharing their links, joining their groups, and giving your support. Here are just a few you should check out: It Gets BetterOutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense NetworkHuman Rights CampaignNoH8GLAAD

4. Speak Out! when you see LGBT getting bullied, berated, or harassed.  Step in and step up when you see someone who needs your help.

5. Wear your Rainbow.  Something as simple as wearing LGBT support colors (the rainbow) is enough to show those around you that you support the LGBT movement and to start a conversation with others.

6.  Start a Conversation.  One of the best ways you can advocate for your LGBT friends and family is to be vocal.  Talk to the people in your local churches, schools, governments, and communities about your passion for equality.

7. VOTE!!  The biggest way your voice will be heard is if you vote for issues you believe in, vote for candidates who support LGBT rights, and vote in EVERY election.

8. Sign Petitions.  A great way to get involved is to put your name on paper (or online).  This will add you to lists of people who get informed when new information is available about legislation.  Here are just a few of the many sites you can visit to find active petitions: GoPetition.comMoveOn.OrgPolitical.comCare2Petitions

9. Amplify LGBT Voices.  When you see an inspirational story, powerful statement, or well-written statement by an LGBT person, share it on social media, email it to your friends, and spread it in any way that you can.  By spreading their voices we help give them greater power.

10. Be Confrontational, Not Complacent. I don't typically advice people to be confrontational, it's just not who I am... but in this case we need to be in people's faces about the injustices of inequality.  We need to look homophobia and Transphobia in the eyes and tell it to listen to us.  We need to be loud and proud together.



Where Can YOU Find Events?
If your local to DC and want to learn more about Gay Pride Month, check out the Library Of Congress events here

If your looking for a list of international events, check out Wikipedia's list here

In Illinois?  Check this out

A South Carolinian?  Look at more here

If your in Chicago, check out this event

Or check out this list of events

While we have recently seen the legalization of gay marriage in the United States, we must not turn our backs on the struggles still faced by the LGBT community because of prejudice and hate.  As we remember those who died in Orlando at the Pulse Club a year ago, let us continue to fight along side our LGBT brothers, sisters, family, and friends to increase awareness and show the world that America is Love, America is Equality, and American is Freedom to be who we each are as individuals and as a united whole.

How are you showing your support this month? Please share your RESPECTFUL thoughts and comments below.

3 comments:

  1. I love how many different ways someone can choose to support or participate in pride month. It really allows for different personalities being able to use their personal strong suits. Great post!

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  2. I agree that we should never tolerate bullying and harassment against LGBT people, and that we should speak up against it when we see or hear of it happening. One guy in my college who identified as gay was being bullied by several professing Catholic friends, and wrote him a letter saying in so many words that what they did was wrong and hateful and that I had his back. It was sad that I was the only one that did that for him. Very informative post. :)

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  3. I already missed the pride parade near me and I'm so sad about it, so thank you for posting this to give other ideas for how to participate!

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