We celebrate Pride Month to advocate for equality, freedom, acceptance, and honoring our authentic selves. Don’t confuse Pride Month with the dictionary definition of the word “pride”, which would define it for us as the consciousness of one’s own dignity or something akin to self-esteem. The LGBTQ+ has taken the term “Pride” to describe and herald their fight for representation and a secure identity in a society that has, for the longest time, marginalized and oppressed them.
Because of the historic stigma, many who belong to the LGBTQ+ community had to live in the shadows and repress their authentic selves out of fear of being judged or discriminated against. In fact, in some emerging countries with strong religious ties, many queer individuals still to this day struggle to come out, because of prejudices that still exist. It’s not just a matter of being ostracized – you could actually be persecuted and killed due to your sexual oritentation some parts of the world.
We should all come together to celebrate Pride Month this June. It’s not just about the LGBTQ+ community, because it’s also symbolic of the struggle to fight for the human spirit and our freedom to be ourselves. This celebration reminds us that we as humans are better off when minorities can see themselves reflected in our society and feel like they truly belong.
It is our moral obligation to uphold the dignity and humanity of every individual, because we are all the same. Thus, we must dedicate ourselves to protect everyone in our community, for we are all worthy of kindness. Ultimately, these values are the essence of Pride Month.
A Brief History of Pride Month
Queer Individuals have always existed in society. However, they have historically been forced into silence and to present heterosexually with the threat of ostracization. For a time, homosexuality was even considered a mental disorder, which is extremely ignorant and backwards.
Only in 1992 was ‘homosexuality’ removed from the World Health Organization’s international classification of disease. In simple terms, the desire to outwardly express your honest romantic and emotional desires could mean the difference between living in a mental institution or living not-so-freely in the free world.
That said, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and allied non-members, have since delved into a social movement focused on providing equal rights for members of the community, who are all human beings. This June is Pride Month and is an annual celebration officially declared in June of 2000 by then US president Bill Clinton. Its roots are tied to the Stonewall Uprising and the continuous efforts to seek equal access to opportunities and access for all people.
Celebrate Pride Month the Way of Today
Today, the essence of Pride Month is alive and thriving. And though there are still mountains to move, some states and countries have granted members of the LGBTQ+ rights to same-sex marriage, along with non-discrimination laws offering security in the workplace and public spaces.
However, we should not fall into complacency because of these triumphs. Sadly, many other parts of the world have yet to even acknowledge the existence of such communities, or still discriminate against them. Yes, it is heart-breaking that acceptance doesn’t come freely. And as conscientious members of the community, we must strive hard to uphold the tenets of Pride Month and continue this fight for equality.
Celebrate Your Identity
We celebrate Pride Month today to take pride in one’s identity and serve as as an empowering reminder that queer individuals are never alone. The concept of Pride Months lives up to its name as it serves as a platform for all non-heterosexual individuals to be unabashedly themselves. It is also a reminder for everyone else to be unapologetically true to who we are.
Thus, we must continue to raise awareness towards discrimination the community has faced. Even non-members can celebrate Pride Month, as doing so is a show of support for the celebration of life of our LGBTQ+ friends, relatives, and fellow human beings. Uniting as one in spite of our differences also signifies the triumph of the human spirit, proving we all share a compassionate heart.
Advocate for Mutual Love and Respect
When we celebrate Pride Month, we celebrate love. Love is Love, and love has no boundaries nor limits. Joining festivities this month means we honor the right of every individual to choose who they want to love, regardless of who that other person may be.
Respecting choices and fighting for the equal protection of rights for people with a different sexual orientation from ours also helps us create better communities. Because how can we create safe, healing, and loving communities when we dictate who other people can love or what lifestyle other people are allowed to live?
Love is not just a feeling but a decision that no one can ever take away from a person. No one needs permission to give love and spread love.
Shed Light on Salient Issues
Pride has also become an avenue to discuss salient issues that underpin the LGBTQ struggle for equal rights, such as workplace discrimination, healthcare access disparities, racial discrimination, and other inequalities.
In addition to a celebration, the concept of Pride Month has always been, and remains to be, a protest against all the forces that are prohibitive to people who just want equal access to rights, justice, and opportunities.
Why the Rainbow Symbol for Pride?
Pride is no longer just a fight for tolerance but also for acceptance. The Rainbow Pride flag encapsulates this struggle, because it unites all colors under one symbol. Gilbert Baker, the designer of the original flag, chose the rainbow because it is a natural representation of inclusivity.
Additionally, the bold colors stand for the LGBTQ+ struggle to be visible in all aspects of society, to come out as themselves and live their unique identities with pride. Each color on the rainbow flag represents a different meaning. Hot pink means sex, red means life, orange means healing, yellow represents sunlight, green represents nature, turquoise represents art, indigo represents harmony, and violet represent the spirit.
What You Can Do to Support the Community this Pride Month
Pride Month aims to encourage the allyship of non-community-members, because the whole focal point of the movement is equal rights and opportunities for everyone, including all other marginalized sectors. Everyone is welcome as an ally.
That said, if you wish to actively participate in the advocacies of this social movement–which includes fighting for people’s rights to love whom they want to love or simply standing in solidarity with an LGBTQ+ friend or relative–you are welcome to join the protests and celebrations like marathons, benefit concerts, sales, etc.
Here are a few simple things that we can all do to make our LGBTQ+ loved ones feel loved, safe, and celebrated this Pride Month. More importantly, this support can and must extend all year long.
1. Support LGBTQ-owned businesses
What better way to show support to the LGBTQ+ community than patronizing businesses owned by members. Try shopping from LGBTQ-owned groceries, craft shops, restaurants, and all other businesses. Doing so will help improve the lives of these shop owners and will also give them the opportunity for expansion, lending itself to more job opportunities for LGBTQ members as well.
2. Treat your LGBTQ+ friends or family to a meal
Celebrate your friends or family who are a part of the community by treating them to a Pride dinner or lunch. This will be especially welcoming for those who are just coming out with their identities, as it shows that they can be free to show their true selves and feel safe around you. If you own a shop or business, you can also provide gift vouchers for LGBTQ+ members, same-sex married couples, etc.
3. Take to the streets
We can show support in numbers. If you are able, join the street festivities during Pride Month, and even other protests throughout the year that advocate for the same values. When we show up, our allyship is felt because, as cliche as it may sound, there’s always strength in numbers. Moreover, being present in street activities helps remind the community just how much people support and love them.
Be Proud of Your YOUnique Choices
Did you know that a CircleDNA test allows you to discover your YOUnique genetic footprint? This covers your unique physical characteristics and personality traits. Though most humans share roughly 99.9 percent of the same DNA and neural processes, and have the same bodily functions, we are all YOUniquely differentiated from each other by that 0.1% of our DNA that is different. When it comes to the choices we make on love, your YOUniqe choice is a beautiful one because Love is Love no matter what.