June is LGBTQ Pride Month, and there are a number of ways to show your support for the community both this month and year-round.
From volunteering your time to donating to LGBTQ-friendly organizations, becoming a better ally and celebrating at a parade, there are all kinds of things you can do to get involved — and your efforts certainly don’t have to be limited to one month.
Despite setbacks that have occurred since Barack Obama left office, like Donald Trump deciding not to officially declare June Pride Month in 2017, banning transgender people from serving in the military, and rolling back the rule that let transgender students to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity, there have been noteworthy wins for the LGBTQ community in the last year.
To name a few: South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg was praised for celebrating his presidential run with his husband; Taiwan legalized same-sex marriage; GLAAD’s annual Studio Responsibility Index found a 5.4 percent uptick in characters identified as LGBTQ in films from major studios; Vice’s Broadly created a free, gender-inclusive stock photo library; the US elected its first lesbian Native American ex-MMA fighter to Congress; a GLAAD report found a “record high percentage of LGBTQ characters on broadcast TV;” and Queer Eye was renewed for not one but TWO more seasons.
The need to fight for equality, however, is as pressing as ever. Here are nine ways you can take part in Pride and take action throughout the month of June and beyond.
1. Host or attend an event
Attend an event and have some FUN. The month of June is filled with Pride marches, runs, festivals, concerts, and more exciting activities to participate in.
Look for local events, attend a drag show, or simply gather some friends and dance. Consider investing in some Pride merch like rainbow flags, these beautiful Disney-themed options, or HRC’s Make America Gay Again hat, and get ready to celebrate.
Check out a list of events here and be sure to search for others near you.
2. Learn how to be a better ally
The Human Rights Campaign has a great online resource called Coming Out as a Supporter. It outlines ways to be a better ally when someone comes out to you, which you can use to support members of the LGBTQ community during and long after Pride Month. You can learn more here.
3. Donate to organizations working to make a difference
There are some truly great organizations out there fighting for LGBTQ equality, and they need your help.
If you’re looking to donate on a national level, some places to start are the Anti-Violence Project, Human Rights Campaign, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, , the National LGBTQ Task Force, Immigration Equality, Service & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), the Transgender Law Center. and The Association of LGBTQ Journalists.
You can also make a difference locally by researching and donating to some impactful organizations and centers throughout America, like the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Equality North Carolina, or the Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago. CharityWatch.org or Charity Navigator can help you in your search.
4. Volunteer your time
Donating money is a great gesture, but you can also donate your time by volunteering at organizations in need and LGBTQ community centers around the country.
You can get involved with The Trevor Project and help counsel LGBT youth through the national toll-free suicide hotline, launch a campaign with the True Colors Fund to help members of the community experiencing homelessness, or volunteer at a local center near you.
5. Have conversations
A simple but meaningful way to become part of Pride is by chatting with others.
Whether you’re listening to people’s thoughts and experiences or sharing your own personal coming out story, having conversations can be a great way to show support, raise awareness, and spark larger discussions and actions.
Try talking with strangers, friends, family members, therapists, or support groups. Try listening to younger members of the LGBTQ community or connecting with older members, like this 86-year-old man who just attended his very first Pride parade.
And even if you’re not engaging in in-person conversations, you can still raise awareness through social media. Using hashtags like #pride, #lgbtq, #equality, #lovewins, and #loveislove can help foster online communities and recognition. You can also make use of Pride filters and stickers to show support and provide visual reminders for others to celebrate.
6. Familiarize yourself with policies
It’s important to familiarize yourself with policies in your personal workplace and across the country.
The Human Rights Campaign provides a helpful map that highlights the policies and laws in each state, which can be discussed further by calling your local representatives. As for the workplace, seek information about office policies relating to LGBTQ people and start conversations. Listen to LGBTQ co-workers and work together to see if there are ways to make the shared space more inclusive.
7. Follow activists in the LGBTQ community
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great places to follow LGBTQ activists and influencers to ensure you keep up to date with happenings in the community.
To start, check out some prominent LGBTQ activists and members of the community like writer Janet Mock, actress Laverne Cox, YouTube star Jazz Jennings, author and journalist Dan Savage, student Gavin Grimm, and comedians Rhea Butcher and Cameron Esposito.
ive been gay all morning
planning to spend the afternoon gay
and i’ll gay tonight
— Cameron Esposito (@cameronesposito) May 30, 2018
And if you seek to expand your scope, Mashable also suggests following these 10 transgender youth of color using their voices to advocate for freedom of sexuality and identity, and 14 LGBTQ influencers using their platforms to raise awareness.
8. Have a movie night
Though several hit films in 2018 like Love, Simon and Blockers featured LGBTQ character front and center, the entertainment industry clearly needs to make a greater effort to be more inclusive in the future.
found that only 14 films from major studios in 2017 featured LGBTQ characters — nine less than in 2016 — and the number of queer characters depicted decreased as well.
While demanding better representation in future films, why not catch up on some of the movies and television shows that do positively depict gay culture or star actors who identify as LGBTQ?
Some, like Paris is Burning and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, can be easily streamed on services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. GLAAD also offers some weekly television suggestions, and if you’re in the mood to explore some lesser-known titles you can check specific genre categories on streaming platforms.
If streaming’s not for you some television channels like PBS plan special programming for Pride Month, and older movies can always be rented.
9. Support LGBTQ business owners, writers, and artists
Movie nights are fun, but the support doesn’t have to stop there.
Visit museums, expand your music library, and next time you’re buying books consider opting for ones written by LGBTQ authors or these gay reads recommended by Mashable’s MJ Franklin. Visit local LGBTQ-owned businesses, and check out the Human Rights Campaign’s 2019 Corporate Equality Index, which identifies hundreds of LGBTQ-friendly businesses you can support.
Happy Pride Month, everyone!
This story was originally published in 2018 and updated in 2019.