Pride Month: What Does Celebrating Pride Mean 

Pride has earned a permanent spot in corporations’ branding and social media presence starting in June. That certainly speaks to the success of hard-won cultural and legal battles over the years, but it’s also a time to reflect, learn, and take action on some of the most pressing issues facing LGBTQ individuals today. That could involve diving deeper on how you can be more authentic and accepting in your own life or perhaps reading about the top societal concerns in the community today.   

 History of Pride  

Lively parades and rainbow-themed parties often come to mind when people think of Pride, but the celebration has a much deeper and more meaningful past. On June 28, 1969, protestors fought back over a six-day period when police officers attempted to raid the New York City club — known to be a haven to the LGBTQ community — as same-sex relationships and gatherings were not just frowned upon, but illegal in many cases. The event is often credited with turbocharging gay and trans rights activism in the country. A year after what’s now dubbed the Stonewall Uprising, on June 28, 1970, community activists commemorated the anniversary, which is the genesis for the Pride celebrations we know and love today.  

But it’s important to remember, that while many current-day celebrations are fun and lighthearted in nature, it wasn’t always that way. It took decades before dedicated activism resulted in hard-won legal victories, such as legalizing gay marriage at the federal level in 2015. Within that period of time, many LGBTQ individuals lost relationships with loved ones, lost their jobs, and dealt with high rates of depression and anxiety as a result of having to hide a fundamental part of their identity.  

Let’s take a look at some of the ways to celebrate Pride that simultaneously celebrate how far we’ve come while also staying informed about the work ahead.   

Taking Pride as an Individual 

Pride can be expressed in a myriad of ways.   

For many, the journey to self-acceptance has been riddled with emotional pain along the way, and it’s only been relatively recently — really the last decade — that gay marriage was legalized, and society began looking down on slurs or feeding into negative stereotypes.  

But while we have undoubtedly made progress in establishing equal rights for all individuals, the fight isn’t over. There are still large swaths of the country where identifying as LGBTQ is not accepted, looked down upon, or even dangerous. About 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide between 2021 and 2022, according to a Trevor Project survey — much higher than the national average rate among youth. Fewer than one-third of trans and non-binary youth considered their home gender-affirming, the survey also showed.  

And there remain many communities — for example, some religious sects — where being openly gay, trans or gender non-conforming comes with serious social repercussions. For instance, classes, camps, and seminars on how to change one’s sexuality still persist throughout the U.S. Worldwide, there are still many countries where being with someone of the same sex, or identifying as a gender different than what was assigned at birth, is even illegal. According to a GLAAD study, seven out of 10 LGBTQ individuals reportedly experienced discrimination between 2021 and 2022, up 11% from the year prior and a 24% increase from 2020. The majority of transgender non-binary people don’t feel safe in their own neighborhoods.  

 If you identify as LGBTQ and feel safe being out and living authentically, then consider using this month as a time of reflection and celebration in the following ways:  

Express gratitude:

Find time to appreciate your own persistence in remaining true to yourself, not to mention any loved ones who helped and supported you in your journey. Think about the sacrifices both you and others have made so that we can live in a society with more enshrined rights for LGBTQ individuals. Perhaps find a few moments to journal, pray, or meditate at some point during the month.   


Giving back is the best way to feel connected to the community. Offer your time at a nonprofit organization, whether it’s mentoring LGBTQ youth, organizing Pride events, or even assisting seniors.  

Stay educated:

Learn about LGBTQ history but also current issues impacting the community, whether they have political or social implications.   

Seek therapy:

If you are living in a place where it isn’t safe to be out, know that there are ways to seek guidance and help. For example, finding a therapist, whether in-person or online, is a safe, confidential way to start living a more fulfilled, authentic life.  

 Therapy is also beneficial for those who are out but may still struggle with the process or deal with loved ones who are not accepting.  

Taking Pride as an Ally  

Even if you don’t consider yourself a part of the LGBTQ+ community, you can still celebrate Pride. The month is a symbolic time meant to evoke our own individual authenticity, and that looks different to each person.  

Stay educated:

Some allies may choose to learn more about important LGBTQ+ figures and milestones in the fight for equality. Reading memoirs and watching documentaries are a great way to understand the rich tapestry of the community and the sacrifices made to get to where we are today. It’s also meaningful to stay up-to-date on current challenges the community faces, whether they’re political, religious, or cultural struggles.  

Support LGTQ-owned businesses:

We’re all creatures of habit, and that means trying out a new restaurant or dive bar is not always top-of-mind. But this month, try to find an LGBTQ-owned business to support.  

Check-in with your LGBTQ friends and family:

Many are fortunate enough to be out and proud, but you may be surprised how many individuals can still struggle to come to terms with their sexuality and/or gender, even if they’ve come out. Or perhaps they’re dealing with stress stemming from non-accepting family members or friends. Take an extra moment in your day to call or text your friends or relatives to see if there is any way you can support them.  

Volunteering for events or organizations that support the community is also an ideal way to build relationships, which leads to better allyship.  

And remember, Pride month is about celebrating and accepting yourself and others as they are, whether or not you are part of the LGBTQ community.  

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