Worldwide, the month of June has been recognized as Pride Month—a month filled to the brim with rainbows, glitter and, of course, the gays. But when it comes to Pride, it is important to acknowledge and to be educated about LGBTQ+ history and how we got to the point where we are today.
In June of 1969, the Stonewall riots took place. These riots were an uprising of the LGBTQ+ community against the police raids that would happen at gay bars in New York City. This was the start of what we now call "Pride."
We call it Pride because we are proud to be here and proud to be queer.
There have been so many instances throughout recent history that have discriminated against the LGBTQ+ community. From the American Psychiatric Association listing homosexuality as a "sociopathic personality disturbance" in 1952 to the blatant disregard for members of the LGBTQ+ community in our current legislation, we have no choice but to be proud of the life and the strength we were given.
But now, June has come and gone, and I can say without a doubt that the world is not nearly as bright without rainbows flying everywhere.
It is crazy to me how quickly those rainbows went away. I woke up on the first day of July to see that companies had already changed their logos back to monochromatic emblems of corporation, limited edition Pride merchandise was truly limited, and the rainbow confetti in the streets where Pride parades once marched have been swept to the side.
Well, they can take away our rainbows as soon as that page in the calendar flips, but they will never take away our pride.
We're still here. And we're definitely still queer.
The month of June is such an important part of our history and will always be so special to the LGBTQ+ community, but I say we keep those beautiful, colorful flags flying all year round.
As a person who struggled to come to terms with her sexuality for many years, I never want to be shoved into a heteronormative bubble again. We have had our rights stripped by corruption, our voices silenced by privilege and our love scrutinized by ignorance.
I fly my flag with pride, and I will not stop simply because of the time of year.
With that being said, I ask that our allies stick with us all year round as well. It's easy enough to be an LBGTQ+ ally during Pride Month. You can attend Pride festivals with your friends, dress in rainbows from head to toe and there is a larger platform for LGBTQ+ organizations. But please, do not mistake partying at Pride with allyship.
If you want to call yourself an ally, be an ally for the entire year and do something.
The first Pride was a riot.
Today, Pride is a protest for equal rights, a celebration of how far we have come, and a reminder of how far we still must go.
Let's not forget that.
The following organizations—and many others—help to support the LGBTQ+ community and are accepting donations:
Parents, Family & Friends of Lesbians and Gays
Gay, Lesbian & Straight Educators Network
Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation