Happy Pride Month!

Every June, the country celebrates Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall Riots that took place in 1969. Not only is it a time to remember, and to thank, those who paved the way for our LGBT community today- it is also a celebration. All over the country, there are parades, festivals, and events to celebrate being LGBT. Looking to attend one of these festivities? Then I have the perfect guide for you!

L - Love Everyone

Pride is a time to appreciate and celebrate love, acceptance, and diversity. An important thing to remember in doing so is that everyone has their own style of self-expression, comfort, and identity. Pride events are for LGBT people- just because they may not look like they are a part of the community does not mean that they are not welcome. What looks like a straight couple may actually be people who are bisexual or transgender. Someone who is cisgender and straight may be there to support a friend, a relative, or be remembering an LGBT person who passed. Pride is for everyone- a time to accept and embrace our similarities and differences and to unite with a common thread: Our love for everyone.

G - Gather Supplies (And Friends!)

Taking place in a summer month, attending a Pride event requires the same amount of planning to go to the amusement park or beach. A time to celebrate does not mean a time to get hurt, sunburnt, or dehydrated! Check the policies of the venue, and plan accordingly. Do you have sunscreen? Water Bottles? An Umbrella, if it rains? Money, not only to purchase food and drinks, but merchandise as well? A bag that you can carry all of your sweet swag in? A portable charger is also a great idea, to maximize the snaps you can post of all you and your friends having a gay ole time. And lastly- find a place to meet if you get separated. Some pride events, especially in big cities, can be extremely loud and crowded, and its best to make a plan before it gets too crazy.

B - Be Respectful

As stated, pride can become a loud, crowded, crazy place. Be kind and respectful to everyone you experience. The vendors, many of who are volunteers, are there to make your day great. Smile and say thank you! Respect your space- don't take up chunks of the walking path, making it hard for others to get through. Watch over yourself, friends, and strangers. While pride is supposed to be a safe place, it unfortunately can bring in some unsavory folks. Watch your drinks- alcoholic and not. If there are protesters- pay them no mind. Do not fuel their fire with arguing, yelling, or physical violence. They're the ones protesting love- not you! If you see someone who looks lost, or in need of help (especially younger kids), lend a hand. The LGBT community is more than a community, and pride is more than a party- this is your family!

T - Take time to thank those that made pride possible

You're going to have a great time. Rainbow flags, music, drag queens, food and drinks, lots of great people and activities- you'll make great memories! But remember this isn't made out of thin air. Thank not only all of the organizations who put together the pride event but the countless men and women who fought for the right to even have a pride month.

Take time to remember Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office- who made strides that still impact the community to this day.

Take time to remember Marsha P. Johnson, a black transgender woman who was a prominent force in the Stonewall riots.

Take time to remember all of the LGBT people who tragically ended their lives due to hateful speech and intolerance.

Most importantly- take time to remember and thank yourself, and everyone around you. We are changing history, one rainbow at a time.