Pride Month 2022 is here. We've gathered some of the best ways you can show your love and respect to the LGBTQ+ community to mark this year's occasion.
Pride Month is a 30-day-long celebration in countless towns and cities across the United States. It is meant to honor, advocate for, and support members of the LGBTQ+ community. While Pride was originally a day-long event, founded as a demonstration after the Stonewall Riots in 1969, it has since morphed into a month-long event. This event looks and feels very different depending on where it is happening, who the participants are, and who the organizers are.
Some Pride Month events include more advocacy-centric activities like marches and sit-ins; others have a more community-building focus, like picnics and festivals. Pride Month is not just a fun opportunity to wear all your best rainbow gear to show solidarity. It can be a wake-up call that it's time to get involved in advocating for equal rights for all people, regardless of their gender, race, sexuality, and more. It also simply affords people the chance to celebrate all the beloved and fabulous elements of popular culture that were taken from or inspired by the LGBTQ+ community and its icons (Lady Gaga and Drag Race, anyone?).
If you know that it's Pride Month, and you want to participate, but you're not sure how to, read on. Here are some concrete ways you can use the month-long event to find an outlet that allows you to create political or cultural change, or simply revel in the incredible group that is the LGBTQ+ community.
Pride Month happens each year in June. But most months of the year are similarly dedicated to recognizing an important historical event or uplifting a marginalized or oppressed group. Each February in the United States is Black History Month, and you can celebrate Black history and Black culture in America by reading about the history of the week and even adopting some new daily practices, like following the African Heritage diet.
Educate yourself on LGBTQ+ terminology
If you want to be a true ally to the LGBTQ+ community, learn the language of the LGBTQ+ community. By taking the time to learn and then use the right terminology when speaking with someone who is queer (or speaking about them), you can show that you understand the challenge and complexities of their existence. You can validate how they feel and how they identify. And you can even create true allyship by showing that you are invested and informed in the cause of their equal rights. Learn some LGBTQ+ terminology that you should be aware of going into Pride Month:
• Cisgender: someone whose personal identity and gender align with their sex assigned at birth.
• Transgender: someone whose personal identity and gender do not align with their sex assigned at birth.
• Preferred pronoun: The pronouns a person uses to talk about themselves, or how they want others to refer to them. Asking for these can give you more information about how a person identifies.
• Sexual orientation: who you are attracted to sexually, based on their sex or gender (in relation to yours)
• Biological sex: the measurable biological factors that play into what sex you are. These things include organs, hormones, and chromosomes.
• Gender expression: The way that you show your gender to the world (based on society's typical gender roles, which are a social construct). You can show gender expression via clothing, hairstyle, way of carrying yourself, etc.
• Gender Identity: Gender Identity is a more internal concept than gender expression. Gender identity is how you think about yourself in only your own mind, how you feel you are gendered within your own body, not based on anything you do visibly or physically.
Memorizing all of the above takes a healthy mind. Is your mind feeling fresh and healthy these days? If not, read more about how to have a mentally healthy work-from-home experience. Many of us are working from home permanently. A guide like this can ensure we can continue to easily take in new information, despite the Zoom meeting and digital information overload.
Learn about LGBTQ+ history
To understand why Pride Month even exists, it's important to look into the history of the LGBTQ+ community. Examining the laws that limited the lives of LGBTQ+ for so long can give you a window into the kind of oppression LGBTQ+ humans suffered for such large swaths of history. It can also reveal to you why it's so important to believe in the movement for equal rights for LGBTQ+ people. To understand where we're going in the community, it's important to also understand where we came from.
Dedicate Yourself to Creating, for Slow but Significant Change
If you do feel passionate about being an effective ally, or if you're an LGBTQ+ person who wants to spend Pride Month working for political and societal change, one of the best things you can do is get creative about what you can do via the Internet. That way, you can move the needle on changing the world, but keep on your pajama pants
• In the workplace: Look into changing policies, contract and instruction document language, and training processes to be inclusive and fair.
• At any organization: Make Pride Month a "thing" at your organization. Have a Monday Priday party.
• Acknowledgment: In organizations or workspaces, look for other budding leaders like you, and congratulate them on hard work well done. Befriend colleagues and work alongside them. You'll make similar strides to them and find that their inspiration is allowing you to come up with ideas that are making a difference.
Changing society's attitude towards gender and sexuality will be a slow and plodding process. So, too, will be their attitude towards mental healthcare and mental healthcare practitioners. Read more on the ActiveFit+ blog about how mental healthcare is stigmatized, and what people are doing to change that—slowly but surely.