Pride Month is celebrated every June to commemorate the 1970 Stonewall Riots. This special time also honors the significant impact that the LGBTQIA+ community has made worldwide. Pride is observed through a number of different events, including parades, picnics, concerts, and workshops. Since Pride falls in the summer, most of these take place outdoors. If you’re new to Pride, you may be wondering how to get involved in the festivities. Your very own neighborhood is a great place to start. Here’s a list of ways you can celebrate Pride in your community.
The first Pride parade, or LGBTQIA+ liberation march, took place on June 28, 1970, in New York City. Today, many cities across the globe hold pride parades for the community. These vibrant celebrations are a great opportunity to learn more about the movement and its history while having fun. Check local listings or do a quick online search to find events near you. Then rally the family, your friends, and neighbors and attend as a group. Don’t forget to take a bag to carry essentials like water, sunscreen, and snacks. Even just a simple canvas tote bag will do. Since you’ll be spending most of the time standing or walking in the sun, be sure to dress in comfy, airy clothes, too.
A great way to show your community Pride is to put up an LGBTQIA+ flag in your front yard or window. This shows LGBTQIA+ people in your neighborhood and community that you see and support them. The rainbow flag has been an international symbol of the LGBTQIA+ community since its 1978 creation. The rainbow represents diversity and is flown and displayed proudly throughout June. While different versions of the flag exist, the most common colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. On a budget and without a flag? Make your own DIY flag with household items, like a rainbow-patterned beach towel. You can also draw one on the sidewalk with colorful chalk.
It’s important to support the non-profits and advocacy groups in your community that fight for LGBTQIA+ rights. These organizations do amazing work despite being underfunded. If you have the means, consider making a donation during Pride to help their efforts. Even just a little goes a long way. You can also encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to join in by hosting a fundraising event. You can make goods to sell or ask guest to make a small donation to attend. A bake sale is one idea, for example, or you could put together a book club. Make it creative by holding a T-shirt design party. You could also host a movie night and screen an LGBTQIA+ movie or documentary.
Volunteering is another way to get involved in the Pride festivities. If you’re not sure where to begin, consider supporting and advocating for LGBTQIA+ youth. They often face discrimination, social stigma, and familial rejection that forces them to make their own way in life. You can help by getting involved with a community organization that helps LGBTQIA+ youth experiencing homelessness. Donate your time and skills to a shelter, warm winter coat drive, or mentoring program. Reach out to local organizations that work with LGBTQIA+ youth to see how you can make a difference.
Getting the neighborhood together for a block party is a great way to meet new people and increase a sense of belonging in your community. Chat to your neighbors and decide on a date and time that suits the majority. You can block off the street, set up on the sidewalk, or open up your backyard for the festivities. You just need a grill, some coolers, outdoor furniture, great music, and even better company. Everyone can bring something to share, or you can designate drinks, food, or snacks for different families. Go all out with a themed event and a program of speakers, or keep it light and casual with a few party games.
You can also celebrate Pride in your community by spending money more consciously. Support businesses owned by LGBTQIA+ professionals and those that are allies to the LGBTQIA+ community. Shop products or services that donate a portion of profits to charities that serve LGBTQIA+ people, for example. Check online or contact local organizations to find a list of relevant businesses in your area. It’s equally as important to support LGBTQIA+ artists. Buy Pride clothing and accessories from LGBTQIA+ designers, for example, or read books by LGBTQIA+ authors. You can also watch TV shows and movies that explore LGBTQIA+ experiences, or purchase art from LGBTQIA+ community members.
Join in on the festivities and celebrate Pride in your community with these easy ideas. While the official event may only last a month, there’s nothing stopping you from showing your support all year round. Whether you tick off this list in June or January, your every effort makes a difference. Keep yourself informed, be open to new ideas, and advocate for your neighbors to remain active allies.