When Is Pride Month, and Why Do We Celebrate It?
Whether you’re a member of the LGBTQ community or an ally, here’s everything you need to know about Pride Month
If you’re new to the LGBTQ community or you’re looking to become an LGBTQ ally, chances are you have a few questions. You might have heard about Pride Month, for example, but aren’t entirely sure what it means or what it entails. You may even be asking yourself, “When is Pride Month?” or “What is the meaning behind LGBTQ pride flags?” Or perhaps you’re still at the starting point on your journey and wondering what LGBTQ stands for—not to mention how and why the acronym has evolved over the years, from LGBT all the way to LGBTQIA2+, depending on whom you ask. So, let’s start with the basics.
“Pride Month presents an opportunity—and an obligation—to reflect on why our LGBTQ+ community matters,” says Joe English, founder of Hope in a Box, a nonprofit that brings inclusive LGBTQ books and curriculums to public schools around the nation. Essentially speaking, it’s not only good to ask questions and seek out answers, but it’s also necessary in order to create a more inclusive, equal future. While we can do this all year long, of course, designating a specific month that focuses on the LGBTQ community makes sure it gets the attention it deserves.
So, what now? Start by supporting LGBTQ-owned businesses, learning more about the LGBTQ heroes you probably missed in history class, and reading up on the LGBTQ activists who changed American history. Also, take a look at these LGBTQ books, LGBTQ movies and LGBTQ quotes that will inspire, entertain and give you a more thorough understanding of the community, no matter how you identify. And of course, read our primer on Pride Month below and get ready to celebrate and join the fight toward equality.
What is Pride Month?
To outsiders, Pride Month might just seem like a month of glittering parties and parades, but it’s so much more than that. The catalyst for Pride is actually a riot—the 1969 Stonewall Riots, to be exact. These days, however, the LGBTQ community around the world uses Pride Month as a time to get together and celebrate how far we’ve come. “It’s a time to recommit to the work that must still be done to achieve equality,” says English. “It’s a time to reflect on the progress we’ve made as a community and celebrate those who made this progress possible.”
Since the uprising, LGBTQ folks and allies have fought hard to give the community the right to marry, to start families, to fight discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes, and to simply allow queer folks to exist. During this month, we acknowledge the progress we’ve made—sometimes loudly and always proudly—while also being realistic about how far society still has to go. “Most of all,” adds English, “it’s a time to amplify the voices that urgently need our support, especially rural, Black and Brown and transgender communities.”
When is Pride Month?
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Now that you know what Pride Month is, you might be wondering: When is Pride Month? All around the world, Pride Month is celebrated in June. It can be a little confusing for those new to Pride because not all major queer events actually happen in June. For instance, the multiday lesbian-centric music festival Dinah Shore Weekend will take place in September this year. Key West’s WomenFest is also held in September. In general, though, the major parties, parades and other festivities generally take place in the month of June or somewhat close to it.
How is Pride Month celebrated?
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There’s no right or wrong way to celebrate Pride, as long as you’re being safe and inclusive in your festivities. Some folks attend picnics with queer friends, while others spend time in the community. Others simply donate to their favorite LGBTQ organizations. If you’re looking for a place to donate, check out the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network and The Trevor Project.
Another idea: “Encourage people who aren’t in the LGBTQ+ community to explore your favorite LGBTQ+ stories: books, TV shows, theater, movies,” suggests English. “Through these stories, they can experience the joys, challenges, hopes and humanity of LGBTQ+ people and, as a result, become stronger allies.”
Over the years, more events have also centered around queer youth and young allies, and you’ll often find entire families celebrating together—which, in turn, helps to promote more accepting and inclusive future generations. Whether you choose to learn more about LGBTQ history, go to a local drag event, attend a queer film festival, raise money for your local LGBTQ center and support LGBTQ charities or wave flags with your family at local Pride parades, it’s the perfect time to learn, grow, and yes, party! Don’t forget to read up on how the rainbow became the symbol for LGBTQ pride.
What Pride Month events will take place this year?
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Many Pride events across the U.S. are slated for June 2023, including:
- Denver Pride Fest: June 24–25
- LA Pride Events: LA Pride in the Park (June 9–10) and the LA Pride Parade (June 11)
- Nashville Pride Festival: June 24–25
- NYC Pride March: June 25
- San Francisco Pride: June 24–25
- Seattle Pride Parade: June 25
- Venice Pride (California): June 2–4
If you’re wondering about Pride events in your area, information for events in specific towns and cities can typically be found online. Mark your calendars and start planning the Pride festivities!
- Joe English, founder of Hope in a Box
- AMA Journal of Ethics: “The Decriminalization of Sodomy in the United States”