By Emma Horwood
Pride events have been a significant part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, plus (LGBTQ+) struggle since the first recorded pride event in Greenwhich Village, New York, 1968, which manifested as a riot against police who were trying to detain queer individuals at the Stonewall Inn on the basis of their sexuality and gender identity. Pride, as seen today, is a celebration during the month of June that combines the activism seen at the Stonewall Inn as well as a celebration of unique identities and the progress the community has made during their fight for acceptance. A sophomore who wished to remain anonymous said, “Pride commemorates the sacrifices made by activists and celebrates the freedom LBBTQ+ members have today.” Pride, especially to the queer youth, is a source of encouragement and strength, and while the global pandemic has cancelled Pride events worldwide, ways to celebrate the LGBTQ+ pride month can still be found.
One great way for LGBTQ+ individuals and their passionate allies to express their pride in June is to hold online gatherings with friends and family members. Whether they are queer themselves or a just there for support, gathering a group of open and accepting people can simulate the unity felt at pride events. At events such as parades, one would normally find hundreds of colorful flags waving and expressing the plethora of unique identities. To recreate that virtually, one can do research into finding what unique flag most closely matches their identity and either purchase it online or create artwork that boasts the colors and present it during an online pride event. Similarly, one could play music by queer artists to simulate the party atmosphere at pride. Good examples of LGBTQ+ artists are Girl in Red, whose inspiring songs usually revolve around her queer identity, or Lil Nas X, who made history as the first openly gay rapper nominated in top categories at the Grammys. Although public pride celebrations have been postponed for safety reasons, virtual celebrations can still capture the spirit of LGBTQ+ pride.
Another outstanding way for queer people and allies of the community to express their support is to become involved in LGBTQ+ charities. Over the last few decades, the queer community has set up several support networks to combat problems faced specifically by the queer community and, more specifically, queer youth. Whether making a donation or devoting effort, showing support for these organizations is one of the most helpful ways to support this struggling community. One of these charities, The Trevor Project, seeks to combat the statistically higher risk of suicide reported in queer youth by offering a crisis hotline and other virtual services designed specifically for LGBTQ+ people. Donations to this organization would go far in ensuring that the tens of thousands of calls and messages they receive from struggling queer teens and young adults are answered by volunteers trained to address their needs. Donating to LGBTQ+ charities such as this one is a perfect way to advocate for the well-being of the queer community.
Even though public LGBTQ+ celebrations were cancelled, the spirit of support and activism has not faded. While it may seem less obvious without the parties and parades, this marginalized community continues to fight for the rights they deserve worldwide. This June, take some time to celebrate the progress society as a whole has made toward acceptance, remember those brave souls who sacrificed for the greater good of their people, and acknowledge the progress there is left to make.