Pride – Hoopla & History

With the recent DOMA ruling, coming out, and cutest couples, we think there is much to celebrate! Let’s put this in perspective: nearly 25% of the United States recognize same-sex marriages, a same-sex couple won “Cutest Couple,” at a New York City high school (pictured above), and an NBA star came out last spring, receiving praise and accolades for taking the plunge. We have so much to honor and be thankful for!

Pride month just ended but really, what *is* Gay Pride? Is it holding hands with your partner in public? Is it participating in a public rally for gay-rights? Or is it simply living our lives in a positive, life-affirming manner? It is all these things.

It is the little things (like asking people to stop using the word “gay” as an insult, or showing tasteful affection in public) that add up to the big things (like supreme court decisions and city wide pride celebrations) that create one massive Pride movement.

For many gay people the “little things,” are not easy for them. They struggle with internalized homophobia, isolation, hate crimes and fear of rejection from their family members. For every pride celebration reveler, there are many more who struggle with conflicting feelings of pride and shame. You may wonder “why does this matter?” I believe that each one of our experiences is important to our greater community and we need to work hard as individuals to take care of our brothers and sisters who are struggling.

We each can do that in a number of different ways. For instance, did you know that Pride events happen all year-round? According to Seasons of Pride, a pride celebration occurs every weekend from January-November somewhere in the world. One could volunteer to help out at the events, or patronize the businesses who have booths there. Or you could join your local chapter of Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbian and Gays (PFLAG) or the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). These groups exist in many cities around the country.

Another way to get involved is by learning our history and sharing it with others. For example, did you know the modern LGBT movement is credited to a bisexual activist named Brenda Howard? Or that two years before the Stonewall Riots, the Black Cat Tavern, a gay bar in LA,  was raided by police, and much like Stonewall, the patrons fought back and eventually began a protest against the police.  These early activists launched us into the progressive era from which we are now reaping the benefits.

While these two examples of how we can help only brush the surface of the topic, we encourage you to find your own ways of helping. To assist, we’ve compiled a list below of interesting Gay Pride tidbits. Like our list or use one of our resources? Tell us of your experience on our Facebook page or tweet us. We’d love to hear how pride was honored in your life!

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