Ah, June. The month we all collectively say, “how are we already halfway through the year?!” And, more importantly, the month we celebrate the LGBTQ community through Pride Month events around the globe. By now, the telltale signs are visible: corporate logos suddenly bursting with color on LinkedIn, rainbow flags hung in the streets, rainbow merchandise filling the shelves at Target. But what purpose does Pride serve today, especially in a city as LGBTQ-friendly as San Francisco?
- Visibility: In San Francisco, seeing two men or women in a romantic embrace, or holding hands as they walk down the street, is so common it hardly registers. So why do we need the flashy, colorful parade and other events that cover the city in rainbows and glitter? These events provide far-reaching visibility, and tell the world that we welcome, support and celebrate the LGBTQ community. It’s a powerful reminder for anyone who lives in a less safe community, or who feels they can’t be open about who they are or how they identify, that safe spaces do exist, and there are places all over the world where they will be accepted and loved.
- Historical Reminder: I saw a mural the other day that said, “The first Pride parade was a riot,” and it stopped me in my tracks. What my generation thinks of as Pride – throngs of smiling people, music, and celebration – is a far cry from the original marches, protests and demonstrations that formed the foundation of the LGBTQ movement. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, and the events around the country and world this month provide a great opportunity for reflection on how far we’ve come, and how far we have yet to go.
- Opportunity for Allyship: As a straight, white, cis female millennial, I know I may be an odd author for this article. But as sociopolitical tensions have risen in this country, I have felt the call to demonstrate better allyship for underrepresented communities. For me, this means visibly expressing my support of marginalized groups and amplifying voices that are often shouted (or tweeted) over. Pride isn’t about or for straight people, but it does provide a great opportunity to grow in your role as an ally to the LGBTQ community.
Attending Pride events as an ally makes me feel proud to live in a city that makes space for everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, and I always come away feeling moved by the radical self-expression on display. I hope you have the opportunity to celebrate and observe Pride month, wherever you are.
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