Every year since 1970, the LGBTQ+ community have been celebrating the queer identity through Pride and this year it has been a tough month.
Dealing with the emotional and physical realities of fighting injustice takes a huge amount of energy. It’s easy not only to feel burnt out, but also overwhelmed by the volume of change that needs to happen for all of us to be equal. While we continue to process and protest institutional racism, casting our attention to something else at the same time can feel daunting.
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The truth is that there is not one right way to celebrate pride, especially when many plans have been disrupted by quarantine. Pride started out as a riot in response to a police raid of a queer hang-out, The Stonewall Inn. Whilst protesting is a great way to honour these origins, it is by no means the only way to celebrate the queer identity.
It’s okay not to feel up to protesting, or even to be unable to due to COVID-19 restrictions and it’s easy to forget how far LGBTQ+ rights have come and how much progress is being made. In fact, this month in America, the Supreme Court passed a landmark ruling to protect LGBTQ+ rights at work.
That’s not to say we can roll up our rainbow flags and go home. Queer people continue to face discrimination, oppression, prejudice and often violence, across the globe. But it is okay to take a breath and look back on all that we have achieved. It’s also important to preserve and cater to our mental health. This is not only essential for our own wellbeing, but also in our ability to continue to fight inequality for a long time.
So, here are a few alternative ways that we can celebrate being part of (or an ally to) the queer community:
Educate yourself. Whilst that might sound like a daunting prospect, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hit the library and bury yourself in books. A great way to learn more about the history of LGBTQ+ oppression and the fight for human rights is to watch a documentary about it. Or, if you don’t feel up to active learning, why not watch a movie that celebrates being queer.
Have a virtual pride party with your friends. You can keep it dry or have a few drinks and either chat or organise games like a pub quiz. Surround yourself with ally’s and other queer people to create a safe environment where you can be un-apologetically yourself and let loose. This is your moment!
If you are able, a great way to support the queer community is to donate to charities that work to support and campaign for them. Here is a list of organisations you might consider donating to. You could also go on a shopping spree at queer owned or supportive businesses.
Be creative! Self-expression is the name of the game, and why not use the opportunity to fuel your creativity. Whether it is make up, drawing, painting, writing, sewing, music or anything else, make something that celebrates queer culture and the progress that has been made on LGBTQ+ rights.
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Pride Cookies! "Be loving and kind. Call everyone to your table of kindness." -Ma Jaya In honor of Pride Month, I made these vegan cookies. I'm very passionate about accepting everyone for who they are, no judgments, no opinions, just pure acceptance. Everyone deserves love, respect and support. ❤ #pride #pridemonth #pride🌈 #acceptance #loveeveryone #lgbt #lgbtq #judgementfreezone #loveforall #rainbow #color #joy #baking #vegan #vegetarian
And finally, be free to do whatever you want. There is no right way to be queer or to show your support. As long as you are being safe, let your hair down and party like only you know how (even if that just means slurping up a tub of vegan ice cream in your pyjamas).
I hope you have the most amazing Pride month.
By Kahina Bouhassane