Pride Month takes place every year in June, and it is not just a time for the LGBTQIA+ community to come together but also a great opportunity for non-queer people to get involved as well.
In fact, Pride Month is about much more than just street celebrations and rainbow merchandise. For queer people, it is a time to affirm their identities and raise awareness for the issues they still face on a regular basis. But Pride Month is also a time that offers numerous opportunities for non-queer people to participate in their own way. In this article, we're going to have a look at some Do's and Don'ts for Pride Month.
First off, DO take advantage to educate yourself! There is no shame in admitting that you don't know something or simply did not have the time before to educate yourself. Pride Month is a great opportunity to do so. Put your focus on reading blog posts, articles, or books written by members of the LGBTQIA+ community, as their voices are, unfortunately, still too often suppressed.
That being said, DON'T take Pride Month as a free pass to bombard your LGBTQIA+ friends with questions. It is completely fine to have questions and to be curious, even about more intimate aspects of a sexual orientation or gender identity. But please keep in mind that your questions may be seen as invasive by some. Due to the discrimination many LGBTQIA+ folk still face on a regular basis, some may associate certain topics with trauma. And in general, it should not come as a surprise that many just want to live their lives without having to justify their existence every few days. If you have questions, you will find answers online (use common sense of course and always check your sources).
This last point is particularly important and brings us to: DON'T fall victim to misinformation and outright lies. So much of what you read on social media about the LGBTQIA+ community and their alleged "agenda" is simply not true. Over the past years, the trans community in particular has been at the centre of a staggering smear campaign. You can help improve the situation by questioning what you hear and read, especially online. A good way to start is by asking yourself one simple question: How much of what you know about the LGBTQIA+ community is based on what non-queer people say about the community vs accounts from actual queer people?
DO show your support. As we all know, the voices of hatred and intolerance are particularly loud on social media. And because they are so loud, some of these people get the impression that they are part of a majority. They are not. And to show them this, it is important to make your support visible. Amplify important LGBTQIA+ voices, make your support public, go to events… This is what being an ally is all about.
Speaking about being an ally, this is the other side of that coin: DO take a stance against LGBTQIA+ hatred as well. It is not enough to just put a rainbow filter over your profile pic for a month. A true ally will also stand up for their LGBTQIA+ friends. If you encounter discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community, make it clear that you do not share that position. If someone regurgitates false information, and you know it to be false, correct them. Too often, LGBTQIA+ folk are left to fend for themselves. You can do your part to ensure that LGBTQIA+ hatred will one day be reduced to a fringe phenomenon.
And finally, here is one if you are part of the LGBTQIA+ community yourself: DON'T gatekeep Pride. Every year, the same discussions resurface again and again: Is this group "allowed" to participate in pride marches? Are these people "actually part of the community"? The large majority of these discussions are completely pointless. We have to remember that the LGBTQIA+ community provides a home to those who often do not find one among their families and peers. One of the most important aspects of the movement is to turn these feelings of insecurity, self-deprecation, and anxiety into Pride. It's true that over the years, the LGBTQIA+ community has grown and that there are significant differences between the groups within. But no matter if you are a sex-repulsed asexual or a kinkster, you have to recognise that every single member has their place. The world is already harsh for a lot of LGBTQIA+ folk – let's work together to ensure that Pride remains a space where everyone can truly feel comfortable with simply being who they are.