The month of June is here and that means Pride is in full swing! As we have mentioned in previous posts, the celebration of Gay Pride or LGBTQ Pride is “the positive stance against discrimination and violence” toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) people. The purpose of the event is also “to promote… self-affirmation, dignity, and equal rights, increase our visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance.”
Pride is an extremely important time for the LGBTQ community and for all those who love and support us. It is a time of celebration, of honor, of protest, and of love. Whether you are a part of the LGBTQ community or an ally, now especially is the time to raise your voice in defense of our people and our cause in whatever ways you can.
Why We Have Pride
The LGBTQ community celebrates Pride not only because we have pride in who we are but because we are remembering the Stonewall uprising of Saturday, June 28, 1969. In fact, this year marks the 50th anniversary of this historical event. This is just one reason why Pride is both a time of solemnity and festivities. We must remember those who fought before us and for us to get us where we are today.
However, our fight is far from over. Not only are we still struggling with political issues, hatred, misconception, and violence, but we are dealing with a substance abuse crisis that is worse than those of years past. The opioid crisis is a problem all over the country in almost every demographic, and the LGBTQ community has been hit hard by this crisis as well. Unfortunately, we’re also struggling with a number of other problems, such as
- The methamphetamine abuse crisis, as well as the abuse of other stimulant drugs, which has specifically become a problem for men in the LGBTQ community
- The abuse of alcohol, which is a problem all throughout our community, partly because alcohol companies specifically target gay individuals and because bars are often considered safe spaces where people can meet one another
- Co-occurring disorders, which are more prevalent among LGBTQ individuals than straight individuals and can include addictions, mental disorders, and other comorbid disorders
Understanding that this is a serious issue in our community is an important part of knowing ourselves, as well as helping one another. Pride is about lifting each other up, about taking pleasure in and respecting our community, and about striving for change that allows us—all of us—to receive the same rights and respect as everyone else. One of the best ways we can do this is by helping those in our community who are dealing with the serious condition of addiction.
Strut Your Pride
We previously posted an article titled Strut Your Pride that defined the idea of showing off your pride in yourself and your community. Often during Pride month, this is best defined through celebratory acts like parades and dancing. We believe this type of act is life-affirming and completely within the concept of strutting your pride. It’s also healthy and helpful, as it affects one’s brain chemistry and produces the release of endorphins and neurotransmitters that lead to feelings of happiness and healing. However, we know not everyone can get to a rally or even likes to dance.
While we do condone dancing for its many benefits mentioned in the previous article, here are some other great ways you can strut your pride this month:
- Attend a protest against the current administration and their treatment of marginalized groups, not limited to but including, the LGBTQ community, women, immigrants, people of color, the disabled, Muslims, and refugees.
- Wear a rainbow shirt or the specific colors related to your personal gender or orientation. You can find a number of these symbols here.
- Patronize LGBTQ-owned establishments.
- Listen to music or go see films created by LGBTQ individuals.
- Go out on a date with your significant other or spend time with your LGBTQ friends in public.
- Donate money to one of the many LGBTQ-oriented causes in the country. Pink News has a list of these for 2019.
We know not everyone is out, however, and that means strutting your pride in some ways may not be an option for you. Pride especially should be a time where everyone feels free to come out and be as they are; still, if you are unable to strut your pride fully, do what feels comfortable for you. There are subtle ways to wear your pride, such as in a bracelet or another piece of jewelry. No matter what, it is important to keep yourself safe but to also remember that you matter and that you deserve to be proud of who you are.
What Can I Do?
During Pride month and always, there is plenty you can do to lift up yourself and your community, to strut your pride, and to share your love with those around you. We also recommend learning the signs of addiction and substance abuse as well as knowing which specific substances you and those you love might be at risk of abusing. This way, if you do recognize addiction in your own social circle, you can provide help and maybe even convince someone to seek treatment.
We also recommend recognizing our beautiful and diverse community for everything it is and vowing to be more vocal, helpful, and involved from now on. Pride is technically only the month of June, but who says it has to be? We can all keep working, striving, strutting, and helping one another in ways that allow us to stay connected to our community and to continue serving it and celebrating it all year round.