Happy Pride! We all love a reason to go out in public and strut our stuff with rainbow flags, confetti, and half-naked men. But do you know the ins and outs of the big kahuna, the entire month dedicated to the LGBTQ culture? If you’ve ever wondered why we all do what we do—especially in June—here’s the place to finally find out!
What Pride Month Is
Pride Month is in the month of June and is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating everybody on the LGBTQ spectrum. Much like Black History Month or Jewish Heritage Month, Pride Month recognizes a group of people as a culture, and that culture deserves to be honored as a true, legitimate way of being. It’s meant to give more opportunity for people of that culture to celebrate their diversity while opening the eyes of people who aren’t aware of or part of that culture. The ways to celebrate can be big or small, and always are appreciated.
Why It Exists
In case you’re one of the lucky few that’s felt little to no discrimination, we’re here to tell you that things are still pretty bad for plenty of folks in the community. Hate crimes still happen, youths get kicked out of their homes, and the suicide rates due to bullying and harassment are frightening. Pride Month came about so we could combat these issues and many more through fun and public exposure. The existence of a Pride Month isn’t to prove that we’ve become accepted by non-LGBTQ people, but rather is used as another method to continue gaining our rights as equal citizens in our country. We’ve made significant strides—we have our own month now, obviously—but we still have a ways to go.
Why It’s In June
Pride Month was specifically picked to be in June in order to honor the Stonewall Riots, which took place at the end of June in 1969 in Manhattan. It was during that time that a sudden protest broke out among LGBTQ people against the officers who were continuing to raid gay clubs purely to harass, hurt, and arrest the people inside. Its first known backlash happened at Stonewall Inn—which happened to be owned by the Mafia—where patrons began to physically fight back against the cops. This resistance spread fast in Manhattan, quickly making the news and causing even more riots and activist groups across the country. Because of this, the Riots are considered to be the tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement of the United States.
What Presidents Obama and Clinton Had To Do With It
While President Obama is given credit for starting an official Pride Month, it was actually President Clinton who first declared a Gay & Lesbian Pride Month back in 2000. However, the current Pride Month was officially put into play by Obama in 2009, changing Clinton’s original gesture to make sure it also included more than just gay and lesbian people. And while Clinton had made it more of a once-and-done deal, Obama continues to kick off each Pride Month with a proclamation of positivity, respect, and an urge for equal rights. See the full proclamation for 2015 here.
How To Celebrate It
You can celebrate it any which way you want! The classic styles are to march in a Pride parade, cheer on the sidelines, or otherwise have fun in public displays of all things queer. If such large, congested venues aren’t your thing, have a beer with fellow friends at a club or bar. If you’d rather not be among people, come out or reassert your identity on social media or otherwise wish others a Happy Pride. If you’re not much for being public about yourself in any sense of the world, then simply be happy just to be you. Make yourself a special breakfast on the weekend or give yourself some extra time to sit back, relax, and watch a favorite television show. There’s no right way to observe Pride Month; there’s only the way that makes you happiest.
Have something interesting to add about June LGBTQ Pride Month? What sorts of things have you heard? Let us know in the comments!