It’s been almost four years since marriage equality passed in the United States. The day following the SCOTUS decision was my most memorable Pride Festival by far, now that I’ve been actively attending them for seven years as a straight ally, and relationship professional. It was the daytime Pride Festival in Houston, Texas, and I was among joyful crowds of fellow straight allies, families of all ages, corporate representatives, faith-based or congregation members, and other people who came to mark a moment in history they would always remember in their lifetime. Marriage is for all, and in addition to talking the talk, consider this year walking the walk, by engaging with your presence and support. This is why everybody should support the pride- gay movement.
What is the gay rights movement Pride about?
LGBT movements in the United States like the Pride was founded on love and championed by equality advocates that have since changed the lives of the greater LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer +) community and beyond.
What was the purpose of the LGBT movement?
The celebration of diversity and the struggle for equality is highlighted each year during Pride month, for most cities and states slated each June. LGBT social movement Pride events are varied, not always just a parade, and are open to all, including those of straight allies who support and love the community.
Here are a few ways that straight allies can show up and show their support this Pride season
Volunteering for your local Pride organization is one of the best ways to physically show support this Pride season. Most Pride events are coordinated by non-profit organizations that can only exist with community volunteers. By donating your time to creating a safe and fun experience for everyone celebrating Pride, you can successfully show up and be a part of the festivities as well.
On that same note, if your workplace or company is planning to be involved in this year’s local Pride parade or festival, be sure to volunteer to work the day of, so that your LGBTQ+ coworker can celebrate their day stress-free.
2. Educate yourself
If you plan on volunteering or attending any Pride events this season, make sure to educate yourself on what Pride means to the LGBTQ+ community. Each year, events take place around the world to acknowledge the acceptance, achievement, and pride of the LGBTQ+ community for a day long or weekend long celebration.
What many straight allies are unaware of is that these celebrations hold historical significance as each follows the tradition of the first ever Pride March in 1970. The inaugural Christopher Street Liberation Day Pride Parade was meant to commemorate the momentous Stonewall Riots in New York City a year prior which essentially began the modern day LGBTQ+ rights movement. This celebration set the stage for all future Pride celebrations to be a possibility. Take it upon yourself to be informed on the story behind the celebration and it’ll make your experience even more meaningful. Read about Harvey Milk, and visit the Stonewall Tavern next time you are in New York. I did.
In addition to understanding the historical background of Pride, it is also important as an ally to realize who Pride is celebrating. Attendees at Pride celebrations can be from all across the LGBTQ+ spectrum including underrepresented communities like bisexuals, pansexuals, and the Trans* community. Be aware of the diversity that the event is meant to celebrate and the many different kinds of people you will likely see or meet at Pride.
3. Be respectful
No matter where you choose to celebrate Pride, being respectful and supportive to the LGBTQ+ individuals who welcome you to join in celebrating the community is key. If you are going with friends, make sure they know you are there to celebrate who they are and are proud to be there with them. If you’re going alone, be sure to share a smile with the friendly faces that you see throughout the day and let them know they are seen, appreciated, and loved.
Pride is a celebration where one should lead with love and respect for all human beings, so always be mindful that you are putting your best foot forward as a straight ally.
4. Bring your loved ones
One unique aspect of Pride events is the outpouring of love from the LGBTQ+ community and its supporters. Bring your significant other, bring your friends, and bring your kids. Visit each of the many LGBTQ+ advocacy booths at a Pride Festival, and consider connecting with a particular cause with which to engage or volunteer with all year long.
As the next generation grows up, these events aim to bring communities together regardless of sexual orientation, gender, race, or religion. What better way to celebrate love than with people you love the most. Attending your first Pride can and will lift your heart. It did mine. We all need more love in our lives, and Pride month is a well-orchestrated and much-deserved celebration of love.