Pride month is about acceptance, equality, celebration, education, and raising awareness on issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community. It also calls for people to remember how homophobia, transphobia, and interphobia, affect and damage people’s lives. On this last day, we want to share with you 5 reasons that show why we still need #PrideMonth.
1 – Understanding and Celebrating Pride
June is celebrated as Pride Month, a time to reflect on and celebrate sexual and gender diversity. Pride has been celebrated every year in June since the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York, when police raided a bar named Stonewall Inn and people fought back defending their right to exist in public spaces. This incident catalyzed the narrative around the community from one of socially marginalized to that of empowerment. It is a time to honor how far we’ve come as an inclusive society. But also how much further we still need to go. Pride Month can also be a period to give space for LGBTQ+ voices, celebrating the culture and resilience of an entire community.
2 – Fighting for Equality and Human Rights
There are still many countries where consensual same-sex activity is criminalized and people perceived as being out of the norm have no protection. Although significant progress has been made in the last few decades, people are still attacked because of their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. Threats, violence and harassment against LGBTQ+ people happen every day without warning. Homophobic and transphobic hate crimes have a devastating impact on LGBTQ+ communities. The fear of being targeted and not accepted pushes people to hide their identity. Even in countries where Pride events are allowed, social stigma still has a huge impact on one’s life and security. Change is possible, and Pride empowers LGBTQ+ individuals to reclaim their rights and freedom.
3 – Creating Visibility and Inclusion
People that identify as LGBTQ+ still find it difficult to bring their full identities to some areas of their life, for example, work, family, or business. Visibility is crucial to achieving these rights, either through Pride events or LGBTQ+ friendly spaces. When there are diverse representations of LGBTQ+ people included in society, organizations, the media and in other areas, the public is able to see more perspectives within the community, rather than reverting to stereotypes. This helps support a collective consciousness to include people from a range of different backgrounds. Positive role models with diverse backgrounds are important for those who are still developing their sense of self. When an identity is invisible, people will assume that it doesn’t exist and that their rights are not important.
4 – Getting to Acknowledge All Differences
Nothing characterizes the LGBTQ+ community better than its diversity. Accepting and loving one’s identity regardless of where they are on their personal journey is one of the most important messages of Pride. It’s an essential and positive stance against discrimination toward the LGBTQ+ community. Pride can also be characterized by embracing these differences. As multiple identities create a point of intersection in one’s experience, and it encourages individuals to find strength in their differences.
A practical example of this acknowledgement can be seen in all variations of LGBTQ+ Pride Flags, as new flags urged to bring visibility to each person’s individuality and identification, all part of a drive to be more inclusive of all identities within the community.
5 – Creating Safe Spaces
All community events are of enormous importance in promoting inclusion, fighting for rights, and celebrating Pride. LGBTQ+ events have their importance in breaking isolation and creating safe places for socializing, at the same time they create a feeling of belonging for individuals.
In the past two years, we saw many Pride celebrations cancelled amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people felt invisible, and several LGBTQ+ businesses struggled to maintain their activity. It was a period when we realized how safe spaces are still important for the community, as they allow LGBTQ+ people to come together and be themselves in environments that are free from harassment and violence. Creating and maintaining safe spaces can help reduce rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide in the LGBTQ+ community, especially among young people.
At SPEAK we want to make sure that everybody feels at home. Do you also want to make sure everyone has a safe space to live? You can be a buddy at SPEAK and share your language and culture to create more inclusive cities! Want to read more about this topic? Read our blog post: Refugees: Difficulties faced by LGBTQI individuals.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of SPEAK.