11 Ways to Take Action During Pride Month
Do your part as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, or as an ally.
June is Pride Month, which means it's officially time to celebrate and support the LGBTQIA+ community with parades, marches, and other events. At least, that's what it means most years. Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Pride will have to look a little different in 2020. But then, it's never been all about the festivities anyway. 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. And for major ways people have made a difference in the past, discover 13 Famous Firsts From the LGBTQ Community.
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. Stefan Palios, the co-founder of Venture Out, suggests starting with The Advocate, a national LGBTQIA+ publication that's been around for more than 50 years. And for more ways to support the community, learn How to Be an Ally and Support LGBTQIA+ People.
Support LGBTQIA+ owned businesses.
Depending on where you are in the country, LGBTQIA+ businesses can be few and far between, which means supporting them can truly make a difference. "Leverage LGBTQIA+ owned businesses when possible," says Palios. In certain states (like New York, Wisconsin, and Washington) and cities (like Nashville and Houston), you can even look up handy lists of all LGBTQIA+ owned businesses.
Wear Pride-inspired gear.
If fashion is how you express yourself, consider adding a piece of LGBTQIA+ inspired gear to your wardrobe. According to marriage and family counselor Katie Ziskind, 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." And if you're wondering what those colors stand for, These Are the Secret Meanings of the Pride Flag's Colors.
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. Better yet, offer yours first. "In your email signature, you can put your pronouns, which symbolizes that you're aware of gender pronouns being important for others," says Ziskind.
Learn from LGBTQIA+ activists.
Choose an activist whose platform speaks to you—whether that's someone like Laverne Cox, a transgender woman who starred 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.
Volunteer with your local LGBTQIA+ community center.
You may not be able to volunteer in person right now, but getting involved with the LGBTQIA+ community center in your area can be incredibly rewarding. 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 time, 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 toward making the world a safer place for LGBTQIA+ people.
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.
Stand up and speak out 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 during a meeting or your child making an ignorant comment, take steps to acknowledge and push back against that prejudice. And for more on the prejudices you need to stand up against, here are 11 Stereotypes People Should Stop Believing About the LGBTQ Community.
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, but it's important to learn everything that you can about being LGBTQIA+, from different gender identities and sexual orientations to the complex 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.