9 Ways To Celebrate Pride Month All Year Long

Photo: Getty Images/Pyrosky
As a sex therapist and queer person, Pride month conjures a lot of not-so-prideful details for me, like big corporations performatively changing their logo to include a rainbow throughout June and parents of young kids questioning whether to discuss what the rainbows scattered around town mean or just let their kids continue to live in a world where they believe LGBTQ+ folks don’t exist. But, what I want it to be is a time to celebrate who we are, who we know, and raise up queer humans and businesses.

I live in New York City, which is predominately liberal and accepting and loving of LBGTQ+ folks. Even here, though, there’s still transphobic plots portrayed on Broadway, hate speech and anti-gay slurs spoke on the street and in the subway, and folks setting fire to gay bars. So I know that in conservative-leaning locales, celebrating Pride with pride is no easy feat.

Pride should raise up marginalized folks, and celebrate similarities and differences—including who we are and whom we love.

Regardless of where you live or what you believe in, though, I hope that kindness and celebrations of diversity can take center stage. Pride should raise up marginalized folks, and celebrate similarities and differences—including who we are and whom we love. It’s also imperative that we remember the intersectionality of Pride. Black and Brown folks who are part of the LBGTQ+ communities are especially marginalized, and the activism of people of color is what originally inspired the first Pride.

Pride is also about owning all parts of ourselves—parts we are afraid to show and would rather hide; parts that we’ve been told are shameful, and celebrating them. So, with all of that in mind, here are nine ways to celebrate Pride month, regardless of your own identity.

9 ways to celebrate Pride month, no matter how you identify

1. Volunteer with or donate to an LGBTQ+ advocacy organization

  • The Trevor Project: The world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LBGTQ+ youth.
  • Transgender Law Center: The largest national trans-led organization supporting the trans community by providing legal expertise and advocating for safe and affirming spaces for trans youth.
  • GLSEN: Works with folks in school communities to ensure everyone is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender.
  • Trans Lifeline: A trans-led organization connecting trans folks to the resources they need to thrive.

2. Shop at LGBTQ+-owned small businesses

This is, of course, not a comprehensive list, but see below for some companies I love:

3. Learn about the fluidity of sexuality and gender

To do this, consider taking a workshop from a queer-informed educator (you can check out my own offerings here). You can also learn a lot from a number of books available. Here are several of my favorites:

4. Attend a Pride parade or event in your city

Get your glitter and your rainbow gear and head into the world to celebrate! Here is a global directory of Pride events from the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association.

5. Learn more about the history of Pride

Pride is celebrated in cities across the world and is generally tied to the Stonewall Uprisings that happened on June 28, 1969. New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in the West Village, inciting a riot among bar patrons and neighborhood residents. It led to five more days of protesting and violent clashes with law enforcement, and catalyzed the gay rights movement in the US and world.

The Stonewall riots weren’t the first time that the LGBTQ+ community had to stand up against harassment from law enforcement, but it’s what led directly to the creation of what we know as Pride month. In 1970, the next year, folks organized a march to Central Park from the Stonewall Inn, and dubbed it “Gay Pride” themed.

To help facilitate more learning, check out the following books.

  1. The Book of Pride: LGBTQ Heroes Who Changed the World, by Mason Funk
  2. The Stonewall Reader
  3. Pride: The Story of the LGBTQ Equality Movement, by Matthew Todd
  4. The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle, by Lillian Faderman
  5. A Queer History of the United States for Young People, by Michael Bronshi 
  6. The Little Book of Pride, by Lewis Laney

6. Consume queer media and entertainment

Again, below is not an exhaustive list, but check it out for ideas for where to start watching, listening, and following.

7. Take steps to ensure your workplace provides equal right protections for all employees

All employees includes members of the LBGTQ+ community. Within your company, that might mean participating in or starting an Employee Resource Group (ERG) dedicated to inclusion or speaking out about injustices you see. You can also advocate for stronger state and nationwide nondiscrimination protections in workplaces beyond the scope of your own.

8. Advocate for quality and comprehensive sexual education in schools

You can start by helping to ensure these resources are available for kids and teens who you know.

  1. The Gender Inclusive Schools Toolkit
  2. The Safe Zone Project

9. Make a plan for how you want to show up for the LGBTQ+ community after Pride month ends

Guess what? None of the items or action points on this list are limited to being practiced in June. So, continue celebrating the ethos of Pride all year, whether you're a member of the LGBTQ+ community or an ally, pick things from this list and make a post-June plan for yourself to continue them.

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