- June is LGBTQ+ pride month, which is meant to celebrate and raise awareness for the LGBTQ+ community.
- You can show your support this month (and year-round) by serving as an LGBTQ+ ally: first, be honest and open-minded with the LGBTQ+ individuals in your life.
- Make it clear that you support the LGBTQ+ people in your life, even if you need some time to absorb all of the information that is presented to you.
- Also, comfort and reassure your LGBTQ+ loved ones that your feelings toward them are not dependent on their LGBTQ+ identifier; show them you care for them no matter what and open yourself to feedback.
- Finally, stay informed on LGBTQ+ issues and stand up against discrimination: do your research on current policies, support movements that call for LGBTQ+ rights, and dispel inappropriate remarks that demean the community.
June was established as LGBTQ+ Pride Month to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan, which were demonstrations by members of the LGBTQ+ community against a police raid. This series of events is considered a catalyst for the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the US.
Today, LGBTQ+ Pride Month events include pride parades, parties, workshops, concerts, and others to celebrate and raise awareness for this community. Additionally, memorials are held for members of the LGBTQ+ community who have lost their lives to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. All in all, June is a designated month for recognizing the impact of and on LGBTQ+ individuals.
If you don’t identify as an LGBTQ+ individual, you might be wondering how you can celebrate LGBTQ+ pride month and how you can show your support for this community. In addition to participating or getting involved in the celebrations, your efforts are best served being an LGBTQ+ ally; or, in other words, advocating for these individuals who are often discriminated against or treated unfairly. Here are 4 important ways to show your support for the LGBTQ+ community:
1. Be honest and open-minded.
If you don’t know a whole lot about the LGBTQ+ community—from what this terminology actually means to the struggles these individuals face—that’s okay, just be honest about it. Acknowledge that you aren’t an expert and be open to learning more. Ask your LGBTQ+ friend or family member what you can do to better understand them. Find out what’s important, what’s hard, what’s real. Show that you’re interested and want to learn more.
2. Show signs of your support.
Often, those who have just come out feel nervous or hesitant to talk about their experience or their feelings. You can make them feel more comfortable by showing signs of your support. These don’t have to be overwhelming grand gestures—instead, subtle signs can get the job done. For example, defend your loved one if someone else is bullying them for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Also, show your support by, say, wearing a rainbow shirt during pride month. A little goes a long way.
3. Comfort and reassure.
If/when someone comes out to you, reassure them that their sexual orientation or gender identity does not change your feelings toward them. That said, if it’ll take a little bit of time for you to absorb this new information, that’s okay too. Just remember to be honest. Let them know that while you love and respect them just the same, you might need some time to take it all in. Also, open yourself to any concerns or feedback they have regarding your response to their coming out.
4. Stay informed.
Nothing shows care, support, and love for those in the LGBTQ+ community like staying on top of LGBTQ+ issues and doing your part to stand up against the discrimination they face on a daily basis. You can accomplish this mission by doing your research on current policies, disputing inappropriate “humor” that actually demeans LGBTQ+ individuals, and supporting businesses or figures that call for LGBTQ+ rights and inclusivity.