June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month. It’s an important opportunity for members of the community to come together and rejuvenate themselves by celebrating the advancements made toward equality. Pride launched in June of 1970 in New York City, one year after the pivotal Stonewall Riots.
Today’s Pride events tend to have a tone that’s more celebratory than those in the beginning, which were focused far more on defiance, demonstration, and demands for equality. Of course, those still exist as LGBTQ+ communities continue to experience vilification and marginalization.
Here are just a couple of reasons why observing Pride months is important:
- Visibility. Equality cannot happen without visibility. Misconceptions and misinformation tend to disintegrate when applied to someone in your own life instead of nameless others
- Draw attention to the remaining issues. LGBT people are still four times more likely to experience violence in their life than their straight counterparts. Due to the stress and threat of discrimination, LGBTQIA+ individuals are also twice as likely to experience mental health issues, and suicide is a leading cause of death for LGBTQIA+ people ages 10-24, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. For more facts like these, visit their site.
- LGBTQ families are under attack. In the United States, legislatures continue to pass laws negatively impacting LGBTQ families. Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law is one example. Similarly, transgender youth are political pawns in states like Texas and Alabama, where their access to support and life-affirming healthcare is in danger.
- Honoring the future. Given the high rates of suicide, the visibility that Pride events afford helps LGBTQ+ youth know they are not alone and that they can live healthy, happy, and productive lives.
- Honoring history. LGTBQ+ people have always existed, and Pride celebrations give people the opportunity to honor their history and contributions to civilization.
- Diversity. Celebrating Pride is essential for showcasing the diversity within the LGBTQ community.
- Joy, fun, and celebration. It’s not all hardship! LGBTQ+ people and their allies have extraordinary lives which deserve celebration and joy. Who doesn’t need celebration from time to time
There are many more. What are yours?