June 2021 is the 51st celebration of Pride Month in the United States. It is a special way to kick off the summer, with millions of people coming together to celebrate and support the LGBTQ community. While most Pride events were canceled during 2020, parades and other outdoor gatherings are beginning to come back for Pride 2021.
This is slowly changing as Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted, and more people are vaccinated, but of course, local availability is location-dependent. Pride Palace has gathered some helpful tips for how you can celebrate pride month that feels the best for you!
1. Refresh Your Memory On LGBTQ History
Pride is a community celebration, a political act of resistance, and a deeply personal journey. The events that are held aim to commemorate the history and impact of the LGBTQ community. Now is a great time to brush up on the history of pride month. By knowing how far we have come as a community, we can then more wholly celebrate our accomplishments and refuel our drive for how far we have left to go. Pride month was designated to be June because of the 1969 Stonewall riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City.
Progress is not possible without remembering and understanding the past. Taking time to understand the history of the LGBTQ movement adds a more profound impact and significance to its existence, especially taking some time to learn about the important people who shaped LGBTQ history as it stands today. It is still not possible for many people to openly live as their authentic selves, and this truth should be recognized alongside the festivities and cheer.
2. Attend A Pride Parade, Event, Or Festival
Some pride festivities and celebrations will resume in person as we enter our new normal, but that depends on where you are. Many pride events are either postponed until later this year or will wait until next year. If there is no pride parade near you, see if there are any other pride events you can attend!
Different cities are hosting different styles of pride celebrations. For example, San Francisco is hosting socially distanced outdoor pride movie nights. Boston is hosting a Pride Run, where marathoners can represent the LGBTQ community. Atlanta is also hosting a Pride Run, where you can also attend virtually.
Several places and organizations are hosting virtual events instead of in-person gatherings at this point. Check out what is going on around your city, or look online to see if anything is coming up that catches your eye!
Plan and see what feels suitable for you at this time in your life. Do not put any pressure on yourself to have a “perfect” pride experience. If a big parade feels a little overwhelming, perhaps the solution is to downsize to a pride brunch. A smaller solution could be hosting or attending a community LGBTQ potluck. Even if you celebrate pride solo, setting aside some self-love and reflection is meaningful.
If you decide to attend a pride event, always ask for permission before taking a photograph of someone or tagging them in a post on social media. People might not be out in different areas of their life, such as their employment or home life, so you would not want to ever put someone else at risk of being outed against their will. Some people remain closeted for their own safety, which must be thoughtfully considered before pressing the upload button.
Also, in these strange 2021 times, remember to wear a mask still when you attend public events. You cannot be sure who is vaccinated and who is not, and wearing a mask has become a tool for consideration and safety. It is vital to consider everyone attending these events, which includes disabled and immuno-compromised folks. The pandemic is not quite yet in the rearview mirror, so we must still exercise caution and consideration to vulnerable people.
3. Show Support Through Thoughtful Spending
A great way to actively show pride and support for the LGBTQ community is through donating money to LGBTQ organizations and individual crowdfunding sites. Supporting a marginalized person’s crowdfunding source, particularly trans women of color, is a way to be directly impactful with your money as these are disproportionately marginalized communities. Another great option is to donate to a queer activist group that you connect with. By offering direct financial aid, you, as an activist, support the most marginalized people in the LGBTQ community.
4. How To Use Your Privilege During Pride
If you identify as either heterosexual or cisgender, then pride events are an opportunity for you to exhibit active allyship towards the more vulnerable marginalized members of the LGBTQ community. The work that needs to be done cannot be done without allies.
An ally can speak out when it might not be safe for an LGBTQ-identified person to speak up for themselves. If your LGBTQ friend is walking home alone, offer to walk along with them. Use your voice to advocate for LGBTQ rights and policies, especially championing the meaning of intersectionality. It is striking the balance of challenging prejudice and discrimination without centering oneself in the conversation as an ally.
5. Celebrate Pride Indoors
If busy and populated outdoor events are not your thing, that is totally okay. There are still plenty of fun and meaningful ways to celebrate your Pride this year. No matter how you celebrate the beauty and specialness of the LGBTQ community, there are plenty of ways to engage without even having to leave the house.
Many streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime have created special genre collections specifically for pride month. Put on your own queer film festival by throwing a Pride movie night. Now is also a great time to brush up on the literature of LGBTQ authors, whether just for yourself or for this month’s book club pick. There is also a wide variety across genres of LGBTQ podcasts to lose yourself in. Check out playlists featuring music from LGBTQ artists and throw a dance party.
6. Find And Support Your Pride Community
Coming out can feel scary and isolating, especially if you live in a community that does not have many other visibly out people you know. Finding your people, and helping others find their people, creates a sense of comfort and community invaluable to feeling authentically understood. Finding your people can be life-saving. Pride is a great time to connect with others and seek out new and celebrate existing friendships and connections.
It is also essential to make sure that pride events and gatherings are accessible to all folks; otherwise it is not truly encompassing the intersectionality of pride. Events should take into consideration disability accessibility and financial accessibility when planning. If there are speakers, there should be a diverse roster showcasing different identities and lived experiences. Implementing these practices also ensures a protective experience for the audience as participants.
7. Put Your Pride On Display
Whether you are celebrating indoors or in the great outdoors, pride month is a great time to show off your Pride. At Pride Palace, our mission is to uplift and support the LGBTQ community. We offer a wide variety of merchandise, ranging from flags, rings, tank tops, jerseys, and hoodies representing and celebrating pride and support for the LGBTQ identity.
As you shop during this pride month, you will surely see an influx of big brands selling pride-themed merchandise. Before you add that new item to your shopping cart, take a minute to research how these corporations are using their profits from pride merchandise. Some companies are donating earnings to LGBTQ organizations or made a hefty contribution before releasing their pride collaborations. Either way, shopping smart and knowing where your money is going is an important step in navigating the capitalist overload that is now corporations celebrating pride month.
Celebrating pride month was born out of resilience and courage in the face of adversity. It represents a fearlessness to live authentically as yourself and love who you love. Our shared humanity is what is being honored, cherished, and fought for.
Pride is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the narratives and journeys of all different types of people who identify as LGBTQ through memorialization and joy, no matter how you choose to participate.