Aimed at honoring and celebrating, Pride Month is not just for the LGBTQ+ community. Instead, it is an amalgamation of every right and every freedom each and every individual is entitled to.
Throughout the month, different cities in the United States are holding celebrations in honor of Pride Month. Here is a list of the dates for some of the cities:
New York City: June 25
Boston: June 10
Washington, D.C.: June 10
Norfolk, Virginia: June 24
Athens, Georgia: June 3
Detroit: June 11
Chicago: June 25
Houston: June 24
New Orleans: June 10
Los Angeles: June 11
San Francisco: June 25
Check out the full list here.
Now let’s rewind a little and get into the details of knowing what exactly is the significance of Pride Month.
But before that, check out this video of Pride Month 2023 kicking off at Greenwich Village, where it all began many summers ago.
What is Pride Month?
It is a time when people come together to honor the achievements, challenges, and ongoing fight for equality and acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals. During Pride Month, LGBTQ+ communities all around the world, and people of other communities who support them, come together to acknowledge equality.
The month-long celebrations witness various events, such as parades, marches, rallies, parties, film screenings, art exhibits, and educational workshops. All of these are aimed at promoting visibility, celebrating diversity, and advocating for the rights and well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals.
Why is Pride Month celebrated in June?
Celebrated in June, Pride Month is an annual celebration to commemorate and raise awareness about the LGBTQ+ community. The LGBTQ+ term refers to any individual identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people, queer, or questioning.
But why is a particular month labeled as Pride Month?
The origins of Pride Month trace back to the Stonewall Riots of June 1969, which unfolded when the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in New York City. One thing led to the other, and before anyone knew it, this raid turned into the turning point for the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States.
Interestingly, this wasn’t the first time, as phobia towards homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgender people have been a reality for long. Same-sex relationships were not only looked upon with spite but also considered illegal. If any such individual gathered anywhere socially, they were subjected to harassment.
Overall, the stance on gay rights was minimal during the early years in the US.
However, things got out of hand when the Stonewall Inn was raided without warning. Both police and the bar patrons faced backlash from each other, but what triggered the fight for equal rights was the immense support shown for the LGBTQ+ community after the raid.
To know more about the Stonewall Riots, click here.
The fight still goes on, but to commemorate the event that started it all, the month of June has been dedicated to all those who believe in the LGBTQ+ community.
How do the symbols of Pride Month hold their essence?
Isn’t it amazing how different objects become intertwined with different ideologies to create meaning so solid and impactful?
The marches that take place.
The rainbow flags are waived with enthusiasm.
The rallies remind us that every individual must have freedom of choice.
People have made numerous attempts to present their opinions and beliefs through the ages.
The Stonewall riots triggered numerous ripple effects, but the most memorable one has become the march that took shape in New York City in memory of the riots.
The march that took place a year after the riots on June 28, 1970, had a specific agenda: to show the world how proud the members felt of their sexual identity and why it was completely natural to be treated as equals. It was this belief that fuelled their essence.
And this one march set many more protests in motion, a vital essence of Pride Month, where the ideologies are showcased.
They believe in equality in diversity, and perhaps this is why the symbol of LGBTQ+ pride, the rainbow flag, holds so much significance—another essential essence of Pride Month.
The Rainbow Flag: A Pride Month symbol
Rainbow! Of course, it only makes sense.
If you ask me, the rainbow represents “unity in diversity” in so many ways!
Initially, the flag started with eight colors, each representing a different meaning. However, the rainbow flag eventually highlighted six colors only: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple (pink and turquoise were withdrawn).
Gilbert Baker designed the flag as a symbol that represented the community.
Baker was urged by Harvey Milk, one of the very first gay politicians to acknowledge his identity openly, to design the symbol. It is said that the rainbow flag represents solidarity.
And indeed, the colors come together to highlight the importance of equality and uniformity in diversity.
The meaning of the different colors:
Why is Pride Month important?
The flag, the people, and its celebrations all combine to serve as a platform that highlights the ongoing challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community. Differences towards them, such as discrimination, violence, and unequal treatment, have been going on year after year.
Even though more people have come out in support and there have been numerous relaxations, the overall behavior towards them continues to remain a reality.
It aims to foster acceptance, understanding, and inclusivity, promoting a more equitable society for all individuals regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Therefore, everyone needs to understand the significance of this month.
So, why is it important?
Creating a socially equal world for all
Just like any individual, the LGBTQ+ community deserves to be entitled to rights and freedoms. Unfortunately, even today, after so many years of evolution and advancement, the entire section of society has to fight for their rights.
We might be conquering space, but back on Earth, we are still wrapped under the bubble of homophobia.
While the main agenda of Pride Month is to initiate a positive environment for the people of the community, the welcoming behavior must come from the people outside the community as well.
As much as Pride Month is a platform for them, we must understand that society becomes equal when everyone puts in the effort together. Therefore, unless everyone starts acknowledging that our planet is for all, irrespective of their sexual identity, we cannot establish an equal society.
A platform for visibility
This month and its associated marches and rallies provide a fundamental platform for the community. Not only is it necessary for all those fighting for their rights or honoring activists around the world, but also for those yet to come out or acknowledge their identity.
Yes, there are many who still need to find the proper support or environment to express their individuality freely. Such platforms are essential for such people to unite with others and find much-needed encouragement.
Seeing others who share their experiences and identities celebrating and embracing themselves can reinforce a sense of belonging, self-worth, and self-acceptance.
This month-long celebration can create a sense of belonging and allow them to express themselves authentically without fear or shame. It acts as a platform for visibility or a place to find inspiration.
It provides a supportive and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ individuals and their supporters to connect, share experiences, and build a sense of community. Pride events and activities create opportunities for people to connect with others who share similar experiences and challenges.
This support is essential for building a sense of belonging. It helps affirm the faith there is a safe place, especially for those who go through rejection or isolation due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Pride events offer a sense of belonging, reducing feelings of loneliness and promoting mental health and well-being. Also, recognizing and honoring the community’s struggles and triumphs goes towards instilling a sense of empowerment and pride in individuals as a whole.
Generating more awareness
As much as Pride Month is necessary for the people of the community, people outside the community must understand, get educated, and be more respectful towards them.
It would essentially serve as a platform to educate everyone about LGBTQ+ history, rights, and issues. This would help build sensitivity towards the community’s people and minimize stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination.
Seeing diverse representations of LGBTQ+ individuals in media, parades, and events can lead to better acknowledgment and respect.
Promoting mental health
By increasing understanding and knowledge, we can work towards combating stigma, discrimination, and misconceptions surrounding mental health in the LGBTQ+ community. It is also a platform where one can ask questions, seek help, garner support, and find the right environment for positive mental well-being and increased self-confidence.
The opportunity to express their identities openly and proudly can generate massive positivity. The acceptance received can positively impact mental health by reducing feelings of isolation, shame, and self-stigma.
Summing up the Pride Month
The rainbow flags waving proudly, the vibrant parades, and the countless events serve as a reminder that every human being is entitled to fundamental rights. We as humans can choose to identify with any gender we feel we belong with.
So, whether you are from within the community or outside, remember that understanding and respect are the basic gestures that can be shown to anyone.
Today, Pride Month serves as an opportunity to commemorate the progress made in LGBTQ+ rights and acknowledge the challenges that persist. It aims to foster acceptance, educate the public, and advocate for equal rights and protection for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
It’s important to note that while Pride Month is widely celebrated and recognized, the experiences and celebrations may vary across different countries and communities.
The significance of Pride Month extends beyond a single month, as the pursuit of LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance is an ongoing process throughout the year.
Being someone who doesn’t belong to the LGBTQ+ community, I have always strived to understand the thoughts people have.
Yes, I have friends who identify themselves beyond the typical gender spectrum, but that is not enough for me to qualify as someone who is eligible to comment.
Being with them, I have realized it is essential first to understand the individual thoughts to be able to understand the community.
There is no need to look at them as someone different. They have the same faces, hands, and legs as any regular person. So, why discriminate? Why can’t they be just treated like an ordinary individual?
It is unfortunate that they have to fight for their rights and acknowledgment. It is not their fault, but rather ours as a society. We have failed to build an equal community where everyone is treated fairly, and no reason is considered a basis for discrimination.
So, let the flags fly high, but let discrimination be gone. Let us commit to creating a world where everyone can love and live freely.
Together, let’s continue to advocate for equality, acceptance, and understanding, not just during Pride Month but throughout the year.
May you, as an individual, be respected. May your voices be heard and your love celebrated.
Let us keep marching forward, hand in hand, towards a brighter and more inclusive future. 🌈❤️
Read my blog here to learn how dark chocolates help beat stress.