Each year, various cities, states and countries hold their annual Pride parades. Usually we see them in the month of June, but some are spread throughout the year. These annual celebrations often rally around a theme.
This year, we see bold themes such as:
What do all of these themes have in common? To me, they represent messages of togetherness, personal pride in self and geographical area, rejoicing, family and overall positivity. The messages and excitement are even more amplified this year as many of these gatherings have been put on pause for the previous few years due to the pandemic. The cancellation of these events in 2020-2021 was heartbreaking to many, but also deepens the purpose and remembrance of why these events exist in the first place.
Personally, Pride events were always a celebration in my world. I have lived in many cities over my adult lifetime: London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Miami, Orlando – just to name a few. Each of these cities always had the opportunity to attend and join in on Pride festivities, something that is both very important and core to who I am as a person. So, when the world stopped in 2020, just a few months prior to the annual festivities, it hit me hard.
“There won’t be Pride this year, no matter where I live. There won’t be an opportunity to celebrate who I am and how proud I am of our LGBTQIA+ community in a safe environment, surrounded by thousands of others who feel the same…” is the worry that immediately raced through my head. “Would it be virtual this year? Will it come back in 2021?” I asked myself. My comfort in coming out and feeling a sense of belonging in my younger years leaned heavily on the strength and significance of Pride events. And now, for those who are just beginning their journey as their true selves – they won’t have what I had.
Now in 2022, looking forward to the return of in-person Pride events, I still look backward and wonder what support we (as experienced LGBTQIA+ community members) offered to the younger generation during those years of silence. What can we continue to do beyond Pride events or the month of June to make sure all members of our community are wrapped in a warm blanket of trust, support and self-worth that we all either had or deserved? We must be relentless in pursuing action, policies and opportunities that continue to tell people it’s okay – more than okay, celebrated – to be their true selves.
The celebration of Pride, and Pride month here in the US, may have started with violence (if you don’t know this, please click here to learn more), but then and now it is also full of purpose, intention, recognition and celebration.
As we celebrate the return to events this year and beyond, I personally intend to keep all of this front and center in my heart and mind by focusing on a few key things I can personally do to support my community, including:
Vote. It matters.
Be an active participant in local LGBTQIA+ youth centers
Only spend money with businesses that actively support the LGBTQIA+ community
My wish for everyone reading this is that you too will find ways to be impactful and purposeful in supporting our LGBTQ+ community, whether as a member of the community or an ally. There’s so much work to be done, and I know we can take these important steps forward – together.
With that, I wish each and every one of you a very Happy Pride Month.
All my best.
Donna Hubley, VP of Field Sales