15 Ways to Take Action During Pride Month
Do your part as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, or as an ally.
The month of June is Pride Month, which means it's officially time to celebrate and support the LGBTQIA+ community with a series of parades, marches, and celebrations. But it's not all about the festivities. Whether you're a part of the LGBTQIA+ community or not, we've uncovered a variety of ways to take action during the month of June—from asking people about their preferred pronouns, to supporting businesses owned by LGBTQIA+ people. By the time you finish reading, you'll be ready to make a difference in your community in a way that counts.
Attend Pride events with your family—including your kids.
Regardless of your place in the LGBTQIA+ community, you can show your support by attending Pride events with your family. "Most cities that host Prides also have family-focused Pride events," says Stefan Palios, the co-founder of Venture Out, Canada's largest nonprofit for LGBTQIA+ inclusion in tech and entrepreneurship. "If you're not one for parties or don't feel comfortable standing at a march for a few hours, the family events can be a great way to show support and be involved, regardless of your identity."
For example, families in Chicago can attend the Pride Family Fest at Back Lot Bash, while those in the Twin Cities can head to Pride Family Fun Day at Como Park. Most of these events are easily accessible through your respective city's Pride organization.
Read LGBTQIA+ publications.
Whether you consider yourself a member of the LGBTQIA+ community or not, you can—and should—read and support LGBTQIA+ publications. Not only will you remain informed about current issues facing the community, but you'll learn about them from a firsthand perspective. Palios suggests starting with The Advocate, a national LGBTQIA+ publication that's been around for more than 70 years.
Support LGBTQIA+-owned businesses.
In some parts of the country, LGBTQIA+ businesses are few and far between, which means supporting them can truly make a difference. "Leverage LGBTQIA+-owned businesses when possible," says Palios. "Many [LGBTQIA+] community centers also rent out their space—some even have catering. If you're looking for a venue or catering, for example, spend your money there."
Wear Pride-inspired gear.
If fashion is how you express yourself, consider adding a piece of LGBTQIA+-inspired gear to your wardrobe. According to Katie Ziskind, a holistic marriage and family counselor and owner of Wisdom Within Counseling, even wearing a small rainbow flag can display your solidarity. "A rainbow flag pin is easy to make with rainbow ribbon," she says. "You can also put a rainbow flag on your backpack or your purse to symbolize your pride for the LGBTQ community."
Make an effort to ask what someone's preferred pronouns are.
Today, you're likely to encounter people who do not use the typical "he" or "she" gender pronouns. Rather than run the risk of misgendering someone—which can have a huge effect on their mental health—do your part by inquiring about someone's pronouns.
You can also find small ways to encourage others to make the same efforts. "In your email signature, you can put your pronouns, which symbolizes that you're aware of gender pronouns being important for others," says Ziskind.
Start an LGBTQIA+ employee network.
If you believe your company could benefit from a more inclusive environment, Gay Star News suggests starting a Pride employee network. To begin, simply speak to your manager about establishing a diversity committee, which can help you plan who will run the network and how it can work to support current and future LGBTQIA+ hires. By implementing a formal network, you're showing that LGBTQIA+ workers are important to both yourself and to your company.
Learn from LGBTQIA+ activists.
Choose an activist whose platform speaks to you—whether that's someone like Laverne Cox, a transgender woman who stars on the hit Netflix series Orange is the New Black, or Arsham Parsi, an Iranian man who founded the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees after he was forced to flee to Canada from his native Iran. Then, spread their message by promoting their work or by finding meaningful ways to donate your time or money to the causes and organizations that they promote. They can be your guide as you become a more active supporter of LGBTQIA+ rights.
Support LGBTQIA+ entertainment.
Of the 109 films released by major studios in 2017, only 13 percent included characters who identified as LGBTQ, according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Recent films like Love, Simon and Call Me By Your Name have put LGBTQIA+ characters front and center, but there's still a lack of inclusive representation in Hollywood overall.
Do your part to show Hollywood that these films can be profitable by heading to see movies featuring LGBTQIA+ characters, or ones that come from LGBTQIA+ directors, producers, writers, and actors. You can also buy music from LGBTQIA+ performers or go to a gallery event for an LGBTQIA+ artist. To take it one step further, try exposing others to these movies, TV shows, music, and artists. Spreading the word can make a huge difference!
Volunteer at your local LGBTQIA+ community center.
Getting involved with the LGBTQIA+ community center in your area can be incredibly rewarding, whether that means volunteering your time or simply attending the center's events.
LGBTQIA+ people who have no support elsewhere continue to benefit from the existence of these centers—and you can contribute to that safe space, too. To find an LGBTQIA+ center near you, simply search the CenterLink database of LGBT community centers. One of these centers will be able to put your compassion and skills to good use.
Donate to LGBTQIA+ organizations that make a difference.
If you're short on free time, then perhaps you might donate some spare change to one of the many non-profits that are making a difference in the LGBTQIA+ community. From the Transgender Law Center, which works to change policies and attitudes regarding transgender people, to the Human Rights Campaign, which is dedicated to solving social justice issues as they pertain to the LGBTQIA+ community, your dollar (or cents!) will go a long way in making the world a safer place for LGBTQIA+ people.
Or donate a birthday!
For many of the homeless LGBTQIA+ young adults who seek out help from the Ali Forney Center in New York City, a birthday celebration is simply not possible. That's why the center created Project Birthday as a way for donors to help fund birthday celebrations for these young people.
To participate in Project Birthday, simply donate $25, which funds a single birthday celebration that takes place at the center. You can also donate in increments of $25 to fund multiple birthdays. Or, if you can't swing the $25, you can create a campaign that allows your friends and family members to help you reach your goal. At the end of the day, your donation can help a homeless LGBTQIA+ teen remember their worth—especially on such a meaningful day.
Provide support to struggling LGBTQIA+ people.
LGBTQIA+ individuals are nearly three times more likely to experience a mental health condition (like depression or anxiety) than the rest of the population, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. To help people who might be struggling, consider donating (whether via money or time) to organizations that are dedicated to this cause, such as The Trevor Project or It Gets Better. You could, for instance, work at a crisis hotline—they'll even provide you with training.
But perhaps the simplest way to help people who are struggling with their LGBTQIA+ identity is to share a story in which you've struggled to come to terms with something that you now embrace. By showing vulnerability, you'll assure people that, in life, there are very real obstacles that we all face—and more importantly, obstacles that we overcome.
Stand up and speak up against LGBTQIA+ prejudices and stereotypes.
Standing up and speaking out against homophobia, transphobia, and other prejudices is one of the simplest and most effective ways to help LGBTQIA+ people. If you see an injustice taking place, like an LGBTQIA+ coworker being bullied, take steps to acknowledge and push back against that prejudice.
Acquaint yourself with the policies that affect the LGBTQIA+ community.
Do you know about the government policies that have shaped—and continue to shape—the LGBTQIA+ community? If not, it's time to start familiarizing yourself. To begin, look to organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for a comprehensive overview of government policies surrounding LGBTQIA+ people. By understanding these policies, you'll be better able to rally around the ones you agree with and fight against the ones you disagree with.
And remember: This isn't only about national policy. Pay attention to what's going on at a local level, too.
Never stop learning.
LGBTQIA+ issues are complicated—and we know those seven letters and a symbol can be overwhelming. But it's important to learn everything that you can about being LGBTQIA+—from different gender identities and sexual orientations to the complicated history of the community. To begin your quest, check out GLAAD's guide to the LGBTQIA+ community. In doing so, you'll learn more about LGBTQIA+ terminology, ally programs, and how to interact with the community in a way that benefits everyone. Looking to learn even more about the LGBTQIA+ community? Check out How to Be an Ally and Support LGBTQIA+ People.
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