What Is Pride Month: LGBTQ+ Through Women Of Color
As the final days of June have officially come to a close, it’s important to reflect on one of the biggest global social movements celebrated annually: Pride Month. Pride is commemorated internationally every year in the month of June. Historically, the majority of Pride events that took place in the month of June were meant to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion (NYC June 28, 1969) as well as other historic LGBTQ social movements.
Fast-forward to today, Pride has provided a platform of visibility for the many different faces of the LGBTQ community. It has also supplied a safe space for members and allies of the community to assess the relapses or progress made in legislation, social coverage, and more.
Pride holds a large weight in meaning to each individual who attends and identifies with the LGBTQ community. For some, the giddiness they experience during the holiday season is nothing compared to the excitement of Pride. For others, Pride allows them to feel safe and connected in a large social setting where they’re allowed to celebrate themselves and those around them.
The significance of Pride is immensely important on every level of the spectrum. To better understand the meaning that Pride holds for the members of the LGBTQ community, I decided to interview some of the diverse faces of Pride.
Alana has been an active LGBTQ community member and activist for years. They identify as pansexual and especially appreciate all-inclusive no-judgment art and social events within the LGBTQ community.
The first pride event I went to was West Hollywood Pride in 2016 and I’ve gone every year since.
The more people know about pride month and the events going on, the more normalized the LGBTQ+ community is seen which is important for progression. It’s also really comforting seeing the community presence online because it’s relatable and helps connect all types of people from all over.
Self-expression is the best part of pride. You come as you are, whoever you are. Each year is met with acceptance for each person’s self. Strong allies are very important in raising awareness for the community. Knowing others have your back is a step in the right direction.
Patricia attended multiple Pride events throughout the month of June in different cities. A Los Angeles native, she attended Pride Month events in West Hollywood as well as events in San Francisco where she attends University.
After attending multiple Pride Month events in two different cities, I would say that my most memorable moment is when I went to Dolores Park in San Francisco. As I got to the park, I was immediately bombarded by loud noises and hundreds of people. The whole park was completely packed and I could barely walk anywhere. The ambiance of all of these people uniting together at Dolores Park was incredible. Here I was, surrounded by hundreds of people, all with different backgrounds and stories to tell, showing off the immense amounts of Pride that we have within ourselves. It was a sight and a feeling that I will never forget.
I can only see Pride Month growing throughout the next couple of years. During Pride Month, all of you have to do is be who you are and accept others for who they are. Yes, Pride Month is considered to be a huge celebration for the LGBTQIA+ community, but the thing is, you don’t have to be a member of the community to go out to an event and be supportive. Just as the name of our community continues to grow, so will the events that take place. As Pride Month continues to take place, I hope that more and more people that are not a part of the LGBTQIA+ community begin to come out and support those that are.
Some advice that I would give younger members of the LGBTQIA+ community that want to become more involved in Pride events would be to simply reach out. Reach out to someone that you may know and ask them to attend an event with you. It doesn’t matter if the two of you identify differentially, what does matter is knowing that you aren’t alone and that it does get better. There are so many events out open to those of all ages to help you become involved. Going out to an event could be extremely beneficial to your growth as an individual.
Just recently embracing her sexual orientation as gay, Natalie attended her first Pride Month roster of events this year. It was her first step to becoming more involved in the LGBTQ community, as well as proudly displaying her own identity.
It felt liberating and empowering to finally attend Pride. I’ve been closeted for so long that every year when June rolled by I’d watch everything from the sidelines but it never felt like I was part of it. Driving my friend and me to pride while listening to LGBT music was a great experience, and I was so excited that I ended up forgetting which parking structure I left my car in. I’ve never been surrounded by so much love and acceptance, and so many people like me. It was slightly overwhelming but gave me a lot of hope for the future when I can feel that sense of freedom every day.
The most symbolic memory was when I had to return home after such a great day. I had come prepared with a spare black shirt and some makeup remover to hide any evidence that I had been at pride (rainbow shirt, rainbow tattoos on my cheeks, rainbow eyeshadow). It was kind of upsetting to go from feeling so open and proud all day to feeling like I had to hide everything again in order to be safe in my own home. Even now, my rainbow flag, shirt, and stickers are hidden at the back of my closet.
What surprised me most (and what was probably the best experience of the day) was when my friend and I sat down to eat. I expected that getting lunch would feel like a break from the Pride event, but it really wasn’t. The food court was packed with rainbow-adorned people, and it was great to see that many LGBT people unapologetically taking up space.
Attending Pride makes me feel really hopeful for the future. Right now I’m really just starting the process of coming out, and every time I come out it feels like I’ve been lying to the people closest to me. I’m looking forward to when I can be fully out, meet more LGBT friends, have a relationship, and not feel ashamed of who I am anymore.
An active member of the LGBTQ community, Bailey is a bisexual activist currently attending university in Southern California.
What would you say is your most memorable Pride Month memory?
I have been to LA pride both this year and last year, so two events so far. My most memorable memory was a moment when I was watching Kehlani. And I looked into the crowd and everyone was just dancing and singing without any cares. It made me so happy to see people being themselves.
Pride is the one place where my brain can actually just stop thinking for a bit. I don’t care what I wear or what people are thinking of me because it is all accepted. Pride has made me love me more.
I think a lot of the problem is people automatically assume someone is heterosexual. Or that there are only three sexualities. When in reality, everything from sexuality to gender is on a spectrum. There is a need for more people to be in [a political] office that is from the community. There need to be more people higher up in general which could be everything from politics to television shows to movies. There needs to be more education in general about the LGBTQ+ community.
With all of the good media coverage and positivity of Pride Month, it’s important to remember that the LGBTQ community members are still pushing for better representation politically, socially, and economically. Statistics from the William Institute at UCLA School of Law show that LGBTQ members are less likely to be employed and more likely to make less than 24K annually. There are also statistics conveying a high percentage of LGBTQ members do not have health insurance. As 2018 continues, it’s important to remember as members and allies of the LGBTQ community that the fight for equality goes on and action needs to be taken to achieve a more equal society. May next year’s Pride Month have many more victories to celebrate. Happy Pride!
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