Why Celebrate Pride Month?

In June, everyone dons their gay apparel and hits the streets to celebrate Pride Month. Many businesses show their solidarity with rainbow logos, and lots of corporate retailers present their annual Pride collection.

Pride is quickly becoming very commercialized and corporate. Companies that would, years ago, never publicly acknowledge their LGBTQ employees or sell Pride merch, now clamor to do so. Is it a shallow, money-grabbing scheme, or are they legitimately happy to stand in solidarity with the queer community now that society has changed?

It’s easy to be cynical about corporate Pride, but we shouldn’t take Pride Month, itself, for granted. Why should we all celebrate Pride?

The Stonewall Inn
The Stonewall Inn

To Learn Our History and Celebrate Progress
Pride Month is celebrated in June to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising, which took place on June 28, 1969. When police raided a gay bar in New  York City called The Stonewall Inn, the bar’s patron’s bravely fought back. Those patrons include Marsha P. Johnson, a Black trans woman, who was celebrating her birthday during the riots. Trans rights activist Sylvia Rivera was there, too; she helped create STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) with Marsha. No one knows who officially started the uprising, but it’s rumored that it was either Marsha or Stormé DeLarverie, a drag queen and gay rights activist. We’ve come a long way since Stonewall, and we need to remember and honor our LGBTQ elders, trailblazers and advocates who fought for the rights we enjoy today.

To Empower
Whether you’re marching in a parade or donating to organizations that help LGBTQ folks, you’re lifting up your community. Everyone’s path to discovering who they truly are is different, and there are countless people who may be questioning their identities or are afraid to come out. Seeing your face, hearing your voice, receiving help funded by your donations – all of this helps us remember that we aren’t alone.

Pride events allow us to be seen – by everyone. We’re fighting stigma and changing hearts and minds with every event.

A Protest in Brooklyn, New York, in 2020
A Protest in Brooklyn, New York, in 2020

To Connect and Network
The LGBTQ community is out, loud and proud more than ever – but there are still plenty of elected officials and groups that want to strip away our rights. Pride events allow us to meet up, organize and plan to fight back against homophobic and transphobic legislation.

To Memorialize
Over the years, we’ve lost so many members of our community to AIDS, hate crimes, mass shootings and more. Pride Month gives us a chance to pause and remember those we’ve lost and lift up their names in power and love.

Be Loud, Be Proud
Be Loud, Be Proud

To Celebrate Ourselves
As Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.” Let’s celebrate who we are, who we love, our bodies, our souls, and ourselves!

Sheena Barnett
Author: Sheena Barnett