PRIDE MONTH 2021!
June is Pride month! Celebrated around the world, Pride Month is dedicated to honoring LGBTQ+ communities (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) and remembering the pivotal moment that influenced LGBTQ+ history – The Stonewall Riots. It’s a month all about people joining together in love to show just how far LGBTQ+ rights have progressed over the years, whilst acknowledging that there is still work to be done.
Today Pride month attracts millions of participants as queer communities and their allies (yes, that also includes straight people) all come together to celebrate being open with their sexuality through parades, workshops, festivals, lectures, picnics, concerts and more.
So, why do we celebrate Pride month?
These global celebrations mark the anniversary of the Stonewall riots that took place outside the Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, New York City in June 1969. Lasting six days, the Stonewall riots are acknowledged today as the birthplace of the gay liberation movement. It was the first time in history gay communities fought back against the police raids on the city’s gay bars and clubs. The pioneering activists that led these protests include Marsha Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Without the retaliation of these brave activists, gay liberation may not have excelled at the pace it has today.
Data collected by the International Gay and Lesbian Association (IGLA) shows that there are still countries across the world that continue to oppress LGBTQ+ communities – including 49 countries that criminalise acts of same-sex activity, 11 countries which use the death penalty as punishment for same-sex activity and 15 countries that criminalise the expression of transgender people. This alone shows the importance of celebrating Pride month and the issues we still have to overcome too.
Why is it so important we celebrate Pride Month?
Despite all the movements that have taken place in support of gay liberation, there are still people across the world today that actively fight against it.
There are still same-sex couples who fear showing affection in public in fear of being attacked or verbally abused. There are children who identify as an LGBTQ+ person that are still subject to homophobic and transphobic abuse from their peers. There is an increase in violent attacks on LGBTQ+ communities and a lot of this unfortunately goes unreported. Attacks on transgender people are increasing on the streets, in the workplace and online. What does this all mean? There is still so much work to be done in terms of social reform and with continued support and action this will one day all change.
What can I do to get involved?
In a normal year, throughout the month there are normally many activities being held to support Pride month in your town or city. Reach out to members of the community or research nearby Pride gatherings that you can attend. With Covid-19 still present things this year might be a little different, so if you’re unable to meet face-to-face with people, you can always educate yourself online via virtual Pride events.
Our LGBT+ Society is also always on hand for support and is a great way to get involved. For more information about Harper’s LGBT+ Society, take a look at their page on our SU website here.