Every June, I post some semblance of this list. These points apply to Pride each and every year, and are applicable to Pride anywhere, even though I’m in Pittsburgh PA and writing with our Pride at the center of my thinking.
Here’s my list of 12 tips for making the most of LGBTQIA+ Pride:
• Remember why we are celebrating Pride in June, and where the notion of a yearly remembrance and celebration came from. Learn about the Stonewall Riots. In today’s political environment, queer people of any stripe face a strong resistance to dignity and equality. In some ways, we have come so far, but from another perspective, our rights are under attack more than they have been for some time. Stonewall was a revolt against the way queers were being exploited and mistreated. We need to revolt today too and push back against those who seek to silence or oppress us.
• Remember Pride is a celebration! There are a million things we can find fault with in the LGBTQIA+ community as well as our society as a whole. Queer people of all stripes still face discrimination, violence, a lack of opportunity, and acceptance. But we can’t individually or collectively do much about that unless we start from a place of feeling empowered, and celebrating who we are is a primary way to charge our own batteries and have the energy to do the hard work of changing the world in which we live.
• Remember, Pride means many different things to many different people. It may be wearing a rainbow flag pin on your lapel. It may be marching in a Pride March or parade. It may be dancing and partying with the rest of the tribe. It may mean opening yourself up to new and different aspects of the queer community. It may be doing some activism or advocacy work. Don’t waste time criticizing what Pride shouldn’t be, but rather make Pride be what ever you want and need it to be.
• Remember Pride isn’t only about the organized events managed by some Pride organization. An organization doesn’t determine what Pride is, they are just one vehicle for you to participate in Pride. You and lots of individuals like you in some form or another collectively determine what Pride is.
• Look at your close circle of friends, your circle of acquaintances, and the broader circle of people who are around you. How many are just like you and how many are different? Reach out and make connections to others within the LGBTQIA community who are not like you. See the rainbow from a broader perspective! One of the single most important things we can do during Pride is get to know each other and build relationships within the rainbow diversity which is LGBTQIA+.
• Definitely get off of Social Media as your primary connection to others, and get out and in the midst of other LGBTQIA+ people! Say hello, shake hands, offer hugs, and make real face to face connections! Connecting on Social Media is important but it isn’t enough. Get off the grid of the network, and do it old school!
• Ask yourself, are you really proud of all that you are, including your sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. If you can’t say you are proud of the whole of you, then make a commitment to begin to change that. We all deserve to be proud of ourselves, and we empower the whole of the LGBTQIA+movement as we empower ourselves individually.
• Seek out some Pride related activity or experience you have never participated in before! Visit Trans Pride or a Dyke March, or Black Pride or any event or gathering that takes you outside your comfort zone or your regular group of friends.
• Be a part of the crowd without necessarily going along blindly with the crowd. Too often, as LGBTQIA+ persons we feel isolated and by ourselves. So, just put yourself into a Pride crowd and look around. Really see the others around you, and you will feel less alone or less on your own.
• If you think that Pride is only about drinking and hooking up, slap yourself. If you think drinking and hooking up are shameful actions during Pride, slap yourself. Allow Pride celebration to mean different things to different people and support seeing Pride in a vast array of ways.
• Pride is about action. It’s about doing something that could be as simple as being visibly out or as engaged as leading an advocacy or activism effort. But Pride is not about thoughts or ideas or complaints. Pride happens when you take those thoughts, ideas and complaints and act upon them!
• Lastly, remember that the real value of Pride, isn’t just what happens at Pride or during Pride month, but the value is found in the ways we carry that celebration, energy, resolve, self awareness and love into the entire rest of the year and all aspects of our life!
Add a comment below– what would you add about Pride!