Celebrating Pride: More Important Than Ever

A paper cut-out of a pride rainbow heart next to six colored pencils lined up in the pattern of a rainbow.
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Pride Month, celebrated every June, is a time to honor the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community. It began as a commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City, a pivotal event in the modern LGBTQ rights movement. Pride is a month filled with joyful parades, festivals, and gatherings, and it’s also a time to reflect on the struggles and triumphs that have shaped LGBTQ history.

The Current Landscape

Despite progress, celebrating Pride remains crucial due to ongoing challenges demanding visibility, community, and advocacy. Recently, the US Department of State issued a worldwide travel advisory and the FBI and Department of Homeland Security released a joint public service announcement highlighting risks LGBTQ individuals may face abroad, underscoring discrimination’s global persistence. Closer to home, The Trevor Project’s 2024 survey revealed alarming mental health issues among LGBTQ youth, driven by factors like rejection and lack of affirmative support.

Sadly, these issues reflect broader societal problems. LGBTQ people still experience harassment, violence, and unequal treatment in housing, employment, and public services. While celebrating milestones, we must continue pushing for real, lasting change.

Why Pride Celebrations Still Matter

Visibility and Representation

Being reflected in society and media is powerful. When we see LGBTQ people in our communities and media, it helps to break down harmful stereotypes and show that everyone deserves respect and acceptance.

Community is Powerful

Pride events create welcoming environments where LGBTQ people can connect, feel a sense of belonging, and find strength in each other.

Advocacy Drives Change

Pride has always been about standing up for LGBTQ rights. It’s a platform to raise awareness, push for equal treatment, and fight for a better future.

Mental Health Matters

Acceptance and support are crucial for LGBTQ mental well-being. Pride celebrations offer a chance to feel proud of who you are and to find the strength to overcome challenges.

How to Celebrate and Support Pride

Attend Events

Participating in local Pride parades, festivals, and gatherings is a great way to show support. These events are not only fun but also affirming for the LGBTQ community. Everyone is encouraged to join in and celebrate.

  • Pride Parade: June 12, 2024, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Alumni Gateway Arch (near the Alumni House)

Educate Yourself and Others

Deepen your understanding through resources exploring LGBTQ history, identities, and experiences. Engage in open, respectful dialogue.

Be a Year-Round Ally

Supporting the LGBTQ community shouldn’t be limited to celebrating Pride Month. Consistent action and allyship are important. Here are some tips:

  • Challenge yourself: We all have biases, whether we’re aware of them or not. Take time to reflect on your own thoughts and feelings about the LGBTQ community. Learning and growing are ongoing processes.
  • Be supportive: Let your LGBTQ friends, family, and colleagues know you’re there for them. If you’re not sure how to be supportive, simply ask. A genuine offer of support can mean the world.
  • Be welcoming: Don’t assume everyone’s gender identity or sexual orientation. Create a space where everyone feels comfortable being themselves.
  • Speak up: If you hear someone making hurtful comments or jokes about LGBTQ people, let them know it’s not okay. Your voice can make a difference.
  • Advocate for change: Stay informed on issues like discrimination in employment, healthcare, and public services. Use your voice to promote equality.
  • Lead with your allyship: Share your story about why supporting the LGBTQ community is important to you. By speaking up, you can inspire others to do the same.

Pride is a Promise

Pride is a time of both celebration and activism. While filled with rainbows and parties, it is also a reminder of the ongoing fight for equality and a world where everyone feels safe and accepted for who they are. This Pride Month, let’s celebrate how far we’ve come and recommit ourselves to the work that still needs to be done.