This article was published on July 28th, 2020
2020 has been a tumultuous year. For one, most Pride events were canceled because of the pandemic and a need to protect the community. Out went the pomp, color, and camaraderie we’ve come to associate with Pride, replaced with, staying at home.
It didn’t feel right. Luckily, you don’t have to wait for a specific month to celebrate Pride.
Pride is year long. Every day is an opportunity to be proud of who you are, your sexuality, and your uniqueness. It’s a chance to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, its resilience, and the progress made to claim and safeguard your rights to be who you are, work the job you love without discrimination, or legally marry your soulmate without fear.
Looking at the state of LGBTQ+ equality across the world, Pride is also a reminder that a lot remains to be done to achieve full global equality. Sadly, while most Pride parades were canceled this year, that doesn’t stop you from being proud. Here are simple ways to connect with the spirit of Pride all year long.
We enjoy individual freedoms today as the LGBTQ+ community because those before us stood up and demanded equality. The onus is now on you to speak up if you see or hear anything other than love and respect for everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual identity, or orientation.
Stand up for your rights and bequeath the next generation a better and more equal life. As author Nadezhda Mandelstam says in Hope Against Hope, “Silence is the real crime against humanity.”
Fly the Rainbow Flag
The rainbow flag is a sign of hope and peace. It’s a constant reminder to be proud of the diversity in our sexuality, race, gender, and identity. And as with national flags, the rainbow flag is our source of pride as a community, a reminder of our solidarity and match forward towards full equality.
You don’t have to wait for Pride month to fly the rainbow flag, do it all year long. Like the people who proudly fly national flags on their yards, fly yours too. Wear the rainbow colors, use them on your social media. Be proud of who you are.
Learn about the Stonewall Riots
The Stonewall Riots birthed the LGBTQ+ liberation movement. The riots that started at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village of New York City were a response to oppression and discrimination of the LGBTQ+ community.
The Uprising was a watershed moment for the LGBTQ+ quest for justice. As you celebrate Pride all year long, read about the birthplace of the movement, and learn from it. Despite the progress made so far, Stonewall is always a reminder of how far we still have to go to achieve full global equality for LGBTQ+ people.
Donate or volunteer
Celebrate Pride all year long by donating to an LGBTQ+ organization. There are many such organizations and local Pride chapters that make a big difference by fighting for the rights of marginalized LGBTQ+ people and offering valuable services such as counseling, HIV & STI screening, sexual health advice, etc.
Your donation or volunteering helps advance the cause of those organizations, and the community at large. It also ensures no queer gets left behind.
Listen to more LGBTQ+ voices.
Whether it’s watching coming out stories on YouTube, following LGBTQ+ vloggers, or supporting performing artists such as drag queens, your support matters. It strengthens and encourages them to keep educating and entertaining the community.
We recently featured Andrew J Duffer, a hilarious gay Southerner speaking truth to power and telling it as it is. He and others open up conversations to discuss and learn about issues so we can make better decisions now and in the future.
Support local LGBTQ+ owned businesses
There is a popular saying that if your friend opens a business, support them and pay full price! Celebrate Pride by supporting the LGBTQ+ men, women, and transgender people who operate businesses locally.
As COVID-19 ravages the globe, now more than ever, they need your support to make ends meet. The pandemic has been tough on everyone, but it has been tougher on small businesses that rely on community foot traffic to make sales.
Seek out LGBTQ+ businesses. You can check if your city has a diversity directory, or check with your local chamber of commerce for a list of LGBTQ+-owned businesses.
Attend LGBTQ+ virtual events
Finally, with Coronavirus, most events moved online. For example, Global Pride happened online. It was an event that brought together diverse LGBTQ+ community members to showcase their talents, art, and speeches by influential figures. It’s, however, not the only event celebrating Pride or bringing together members of the community.
Other groups, such as drag artists and performers, have been holding events online. With entertainment spots closed and stay-at-home orders in place, their livelihoods have been heavily impacted.
Attending such events, and others by members of the community, or hosting yours with friends lets you celebrate Pride all year long, and protect yourself from the virus.