Although Pride Month has become known for beautiful, boisterous rainbow parades throughout the country (and some not-so-aesthetically-pleasing merch from major corporations), the LGBTQ+ community celebrates this month in honor of a long, tumultuous history towards equal rights in the United States.

As Pride rounds the bend again this year, we wanted to provide some resources and ideas to celebrate in a thoughtful and meaningful way. 

Scroll through for resources for: Learning | Action | Celebration | Work | School | Social Media | Allies | Closet

First: What is Pride Month?

Celebrating Pride cannot happen without acknowledging its roots. Pride Month honors the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. This uprising was a tipping point for the gay liberation movement in the U.S, as police raided a gay bar in New York City and its patrons fought back.

At this point in history, “homosexual acts” were illegal across the country (except for Illinois), and these raids on LGBTQ-inclusive spaces were not uncommon, according to History.com. However, this June night in 1969 — and the weeks following — LGBTQ+ activists (primarily trans women of color, like the iconic Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy) were at the forefront of these riots, demanding justice.

The Stonewall riots were not a single-night event, and for the coming weeks, LGTBQ+ community members were subject to tear gas, homophobic and transphobic slurs, and ongoing violence.

This action in New York prompted further organizing across the country, and LGBTQ+ folks mobilized in major cities, convening to create organizations like the Gay Liberation Front and Gay Activists Alliance.  

A year later on June 28, 1970, the first Pride parade started at the Stonewall Inn, as LGBTQ+ activists organized the Christopher Street Liberation March. As hundreds began marching, supporters from the crowd joined them, and thousands marched across 15 city blocks. 

This spurred Pride celebrations all over the world, fueling movements in Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand, according to History.com. 

Although LGBTQ+ folks still seek further equity under the law, the Stonewall riots were the first major turning point in gay liberation, leading to today’s celebrations, which include parades, parties, concerts, educational opportunities, memorials, and more.

 

How To Celebrate Pride Month: Activities, Ideas, & More

Learn

Learn about the first Pride.

Congrats — you already got the abridged version earlier in this article. But let’s not stop there. You can learn more about the history of Pride (and LGBTQ+ history in general) by engaging with various resources from them, GLAAD, and Learning For Justice— or of course, by swinging by your local library.

It is also vital to keep in mind that LGBTQ+ history doesn’t just start with Stonewall. Brush up on your queer history, or learn about a whole new demographic of history-makers this month to honor all of those who have come before us.

Learn more about gender and sexuality.

AKA, learn about the L’s, the G’s, the B’s, the T’s, the Q’s, and everyone else in the alphabet squad! Here are a few great organizations (this list is definitely not comprehensive) that offer free educational resources on their websites:

  • National Center for Lesbian Rights: A national legal organization that protects and advances the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people through litigation, legislation, policy, and public education.
  • The Center: The Center is a one-stop-shop for all things LGBTQ+ with resources for all kinds of intersecting identities within the LGBTQ+ community. 
  • Bi.org: A website that has dedicated over 20 years to providing resources about bisexuality and support for people who identify as bi+.
  • National Center for Transgender Equality: An advocate organization that aims to change policies and society to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people.
  • Gender Justice League: A national organization that advocates for human rights for trans and gender-diverse people. Check out their resource guide!
  • The Intersex Society of North America: Devoted to the systemic change to end shame, secrecy, and harm in intersex communities, this organization offers endless educational and advocacy opportunities.
  • Asexual Visibility and Education Network: The world’s largest online asexual community, which includes a large archive of resources on asexuality
  • PFLAG’s Online Academy: A hub for free, monthly educational resources to support LGBTQ+ people and their families

Read books by LGBTQ+ writers

Get your queer studies materials right from the source! Or, just enjoy some awesome fiction that tells the stories of LGBTQ+ characters. There are so many awesome books out there (trust us; we keep our eyes out for new book recommendations each month!).

Get started by searching through Libro.fm’s Pride collection of audiobooks or these LGBTQ+ YA books.

Read about pre-Stonewall LGBTQ+ history

Though Stonewall was a huge catalyst catalyst moment, LGBTQ+ history didn't start there. Read this article about queer history, beginning all the way back in 2900 B.C. — and taking us all the way through to the 1960's.

Take Action

Call upon your elected officials to protect and uplift trans and queer youth.

It’s been a rough year in policy for LGBTQ+ youth in America. It’s up to us to protect and advance the rights of queer and trans youth. Get started by calling or emailing your representatives and urge them to support pro-LGTBQ+ legislation.

Check out our articles about contacting your representatives, as well as this guide and script for protecting LGBTQ+ youth!

Donate to organizations that support LGBTQ+ youth.

There are quite literally hundreds of organizations in the United States working to support LGBTQ+ youth. 

Child Welfare Information Gateway — a service under the Children's Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — offers an expanded list of K-12 advocacy and support organizations for LGBTQ+ youth. 

Here are just a few of the many organizations focusing their efforts on this community: 

  • The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ youth.
  • GLSEN: Supporting education environments, GLSEN works to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. 
  • Transgender Law Center: The largest national trans-led organization supporting the trans community by providing legal expertise and advocating for safe and affirming spaces for trans youth

Volunteer for an LGTBQ+ nonprofit in your area.

If you can’t afford to donate, or you want to make your donation even more impactful, volunteer right in your community! Check out a crowd-sourced directory of LGBTQ+ organizations, or search for LGBTQ+ community centers in your area to get started.

Here are a few other great national organizations to volunteer with:

  • The Trevor Project: As mentioned, the Trevor Project works to prevent suicide and support the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth. Volunteers are on the front lines helping these young people through tough times. 
  • GLAAD: GLAAD is always looking for volunteers who can help with the recruitment, management, leadership development, and support of their mission.
  • Trans Lifeline: Trans Lifeline is a trans-led organization connecting trans folks to the resources they need to thrive. Volunteers build nonprofit experience, log required clinical hours, learn the ins & outs of community economic redistribution—and meet incredible trans people across the country.

Vote or campaign for elected officials who work to improve the lives of all members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Put those door-knocking and phone-calling muscles to work and mobilize for a candidate who supports pro-LGBTQ+ legislation! The Victory Fund works to build long-term LGBTQ+ political power by electing LGBTQ+ leaders at every level of government. 

Meet their candidates and learn more

Donate to gender-affirming surgery funds.

Redistribute wealth and help a friend or community member pay for gender-affirming procedures. If you have trouble finding a mutual aid fund or crowd-fund in your immediate circle, you can search for a fund to contribute to on GoFundMe, or support any of the following nonprofits:

  • Jim Collins Foundation: Those seeking financial assistance for gender-affirming surgeries can apply for grants through the Jim Collins Foundation, an organization that works to promote the self-determination and empowerment of all transgender people.
  • For The Gworls: For The Gworls (FTG) is a Black, trans-led collective that curates and hosts parties to fundraise money to help Black transgender people pay for rent, gender-affirming surgeries, smaller co-pays for medicines and doctor’s visits, and travel assistance.
  • Point of Pride: Point of Pride offers several gender-affirming programs, including an annual surgery fund, financial support for electrolysis, a free year of hormone replacement therapy, and free chest binders and shapewear.

Celebrate

Attend a Pride event.

Grab the flags, get in your best outfit, cover yourself in glitter, and celebrate your true self! Pride events are held all across the globe; check out this global directory of Pride events by the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association.

Celebrate good news in the LGBTQ+ community.

It can be hard to find the good in the fight for true equality, but there truly is so much good happening in the LGBTQ+ community! Take it from us, we’re a good news media company that literally makes a monthly print newspaper filled with good news. (And you should subscribe!)

This month we have a brand-new Pride Edition of the Goodnewspaper available too!

When we fill our brains with reminders that there’s lots of good in the world, it helps us feel more hopeful about the future and encourages us to be a part of creating that better future.

Subscribe to a positive news email newsletter like ours, check out good news websites, good news apps, and good news podcasts, and do everything possible to make sure you’re exposed to hopeful news stories on a regular basis.

And, lastly, when you’ve found good news — make sure you share it with others too! 

Here are a few positive news stories to get you started:

 

Activities At Work

Learn about (and avoid) rainbow-washing.

Rainbow-washing (sometimes referred to as pink-washing) is the act of companies or corporations using Pride as an excuse to make a profit. 

Writer Justice Audre defined rainbow-washing as allowing “people, governments, and corporations that don’t do tangible work to support LGBTQ+ communities at any other time of the year to slap a rainbow on top of something in the month of June.”

This can manifest in many different ways; from using Pride or rainbows to push products, changing logos temporarily, using LGBTQ+ people as props in social media campaigns, to underpaying queer talent, fostering an unsafe or non-inclusive work environment, or running a Pride campaign while actively contributing to anti-LGBTQ politicians.

So… that’s exactly what your company is not going to do.

A good way to ensure that yours or your organization’s Pride festivities are truly helpful (and not for profit or good PR) is to ask the following questions:

  • What is the reason we are getting involved in Pride?
  • Are LGBTQ+ people involved in this event or celebration?
  • Will we be prioritizing LGBTQ+ inclusion after Pride Month?
  • Do profits go directly to the LGBTQ+ community?
  • Does this celebration reflect the internal culture of our company or organization?

 

Ensure your workplace has equal rights protections for its employees.

With rainbow-washing in mind, it’s not enough to not cause harm to LGBTQ+ folks during Pride, but rather the bare minimum. This is an excellent opportunity to ensure that your workplace is not only safe and inclusive for LGBTQ+ employees, but affirmative and intentional.

Ensure that your workplace has equal rights protections in place for the LGBTQ+ community, and go the extra mile by advocating for stronger statewide and nationwide non-discrimination protections in the workplace. 

A few small steps to ensuring LGBTQ+ inclusion are updating policies and handbooks to ensure non-discrimination of queer employees, implementing common usage of pronouns, and investing in effective training and education solutions that center LGBTQ+ experiences. 

The Human Rights Campaign has a great list of the best places for LGBTQ+ folks to work in America. 

Host an event to fundraise for LGBTQ+ organizations.

If your company or organization does a great job of caring for its LGBTQ+ team members, spread the love! Celebrate Pride by uplifting LGBTQ+ community members outside of your company through volunteer opportunities, donation drives, mentoring programs, and more. 

Bonus points if you offer your team a paid volunteer day off to support an area nonprofit!

Activities In School (for Students and Teachers)

Start a GLSEN chapter at your school.

What are often called “gay-straight alliances” (GSAs) are becoming more robust, inclusive, incredible community-building groups in schools across the country, thanks to the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN). 

GLSEN was founded by a group of teachers in 1990 to help create affirming learning environments for LGBTQ+ youth by powering student-led movements. 

In addition to advocating for comprehensive policies, GLSEN coordinates a network of 43 chapters in 30 states across the U.S. and supports student-led efforts in thousands of registered GSAs nationwide. 

School leaders can find countless digital resources (for both teachers and students), as well as locate their area chapter — or start one yourself — on GLSEN’s website

Invest in quality LGBTQ+ educational training.

School boards and administration can use Pride Month as a wonderful opportunity to reevaluate their teacher training programs and invest in protecting, uplifting, and learning about LGBTQ+ students. GLSEN has a variety of professional development resources to get you started. 

The Human Rights Campaign’s Welcoming Schools program also offers the country’s most comprehensive, bias-based bullying prevention program that provides LGBTQ+ and gender-inclusive professional development training for Pre-K-12 educators. 

Advocate for quality, comprehensive sex education.

According to the Center for American Progress, sex education is only legally mandated in 22 states, and of these, only 12 mandate teaching about contraception, and only seven require that the information be medically accurate. 

This leaves students — especially LGBTQ+ students — with a laundry list of lingering questions. Comprehensive sex ed is needed for all students and contributes to decreased levels of prejudice against LGBTQ+ youth.

Start your sex ed advocacy journey with resources from the Sex Education Collaborative, The American Psychological Association, or Get Real. (PS: We recently wrote about how great sex ed also helps reduce the need for abortions.)

Make sure students have access to affirming resources.

Even if your school district is far from some of the above milestones in LGBTQ+ youth protections, individual teachers can make a big impact. 

In fact, a GLSEN 2017 National School Climate Survey found that the presence of supportive and affirming teachers leads to improved attendance, higher self-esteem, and improved academic achievements.

Designate your classroom as an LGBTQ+ safe space and ensure that your students have access to affirming resources about gender and sexuality. Gender Spectrum has a great Gender Inclusive Schools Toolkit, and The Safe Zone Project has a great list of resources for all teachers to have on deck as they support their students. 

Protect LGBTQ+ teachers by starting a Regional Prism Coalition.

Just like any other workplace, LGBTQ+ teachers face discrimination for their gender identities or sexual orientations. This burden is doubled as teachers work to protect and support their students amidst their own oppressive systems. 

A strong resource for teachers and their students is Teach for America’s National Prism Alliance (NPA), which ensures LGBTQ+ teachers and allies are equipped with intersectional roadmaps on their quests to end educational inequity. 

Founded in 2014, NPA provides its teachers with supportive resources such as legislative maps to track local protections, legal aids, and advocacy groups for peer support.

More than 25 Prism boards — support group networks for LGBTQ+ and allied educators — are scattered across the country, encouraging educators to find more ways to care for themselves while empowering their students to learn, question, and seek counsel when needed. 

Learn more and consider launching your own regional Prism Coalition.  

On Social Media

Follow LGBTQ+ creators (and pay them!)

You know the drill! No matter how inclusive and diverse your social media following lists are, you can always support even more brilliant creators. Follow LGBTQ+ creators, tip them for their work, subscribe to their Patreons, buy their merch, and all that other good stuff. 

Not sure who needs to be included on your feed? We’ll get you started with this list of the best LGBTQ+ content creators and influencers who use their platforms for good.

Share mutual aid funds that uplift LGBTQ+ people.

It takes almost no time at all to uplift and share important information with your social media followers. One way to boost support for your LGBTQ+ community members is to share mutual aid funds that support gender-affirming surgeries, housing, and other necessities. 

If you can, be sure to donate in support of these funds, too. It can sometimes be difficult to find mutual aid funds in your community, so to get started, you can search GoFundMe’s page to find folks who need funds for gender-affirming care.

Read GLAAD’s Social Media Safety Index.

Although many of us likely already reside in pro-LGBTQ+ bubbles in our online and in-person communities, the Internet as a whole is often unsafe for people in marginalized communities. 

It’s important to be thoughtful about issuing content warnings, setting boundaries online, and being watchdogs for your favorite creators by blocking and reporting harmful content or accounts. 

GLAAD has also compiled an incredible resource: their first-ever Social Media Safety Index

This groundbreaking index includes a baseline evaluation of LGBTQ+ user safety experiences across social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok. It also provides industry recommendations, a listing of Anti-LGBTQ Online Hate Speech, and addresses harmful misinformation.

As An Ally

Don’t make it about you.

Listen, we all love a “yas hunty” from Johnathan Van Ness as much as the next person, but it’s so important that we are cognizant of our various privileges during Pride Month. Queer culture is not something for allies to co-opt, and it is especially not a celebration of the work you do as an ally. As much as we love, appreciate, and need you, Pride Month is not yours.

Pride is both a celebration of queerness and authenticity, as well as a time to honor, reflect, and grieve the lives of those the LGBTQ+ community has lost along the way. 

As an ally, your job during Pride is to make spaces safe and affirming for people to be themselves, redistribute wealth to LGBTQ+ community members (especially Black and Brown trans folks), and learn more at every turn in order to better show up for your neighbors. 

Also: the ‘A’ in LGBTQIA is for ‘asexual,’ ‘agender,’ or ‘aromantic;’ not ‘ally.’ 

Shop from queer-owned businesses.

A great way to show up for your LGBTQ+ neighbors is to support them financially. Shopping queer-owned businesses is also fun because you get the sweet dopamine release of buying something, and you can be happy knowing that your money goes right back to an LGBTQ+ business owner working their butt off every day.

While we wish we could list every awesome LGBTQ+ business, storefront, or product here in this article, we would probably break the Internet. 

So, just like you can narrow your Yelp searches for Asian, Latinx, and Black-owned businesses, you can do the same to find LGBTQ+ businesses in your area!

Make an action plan to show up for LGBTQ+ people after June.

Pride Month is a great vehicle to bolster LGBTQ+ support in your community, but the need for affirming and knowledgeable allies does not end on July 1. Make an action plan to continue your work after this month of celebration ends.

Will you set up a recurring donation? Will you budget to support mutual aid funds once a week? Will you lead an initiative in your workplace? Show up to testify in your state legislature? Become a pen pal for incarcerated LGBTQ+ folks? 

Perhaps you have been thinking about running for office, becoming a foster parent, or confronting your church leadership. 

Sometimes we don’t always know what to do, but the answer is simple: You do whatever you can. 

In The Closet

Some LGBTQ+ folks are not ready to come out this Pride Month. For whatever that reason is, we want them to know that it is A-OK to still be “in the closet,” questioning your identity, or processing all of these changes and realizations. 

We hope that you are in a safe and affirming place, but we also hope that you know that there are still lots of ways for you to affirm your own identity without announcing it to the world.

Vice has a great article about ways to celebrate Pride when you aren’t publicly out, but here are a few options we came up with, too!

 

Wear subtle Pride merch.

A fun way of leaning into your Pride spirit is by sporting Pride merch or colors in a subtle way! While the most sustainable thing to wear is whatever color-coded items you have in your closet, here are a few small business listings if you’re looking to add something new to your repertoire: 

Listen to LGBTQ+ podcasts.

Love wearing your headphones or AirPods to get lost in music? Try some podcasts, too! You can listen to some great affirming or goofy gay pods all in the privacy of your own headphones. 

Here is a list of LGBTQ+ podcasts to add to your queue. 

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