5 ways to safely celebrate LGBTQ pride month this year

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Art by Miina McCown

Miina McCown/The Broadside

It’s officially June, the month to celebrate LGBTQ pride. June is recognized as Pride Month to memorialize the Stonewall Riots surrounding New York City’s Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, near the end of June in 1969. 

The police raid caused protests for days that led to a national uprising of activism and fighting for LGBTQ equality. While there are Pride events that celebrate the activism with many celebrations taking place around the last weekend of June, Pride looks a bit different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic that is not quite over yet.

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Keep reading for some ideas of how to safely celebrate Pride as an ally or a member of the LGBTQ community.

  1. Get involved locally
Art by Miina McCown

Central Oregon has many in-person opportunities for Pride celebrations, from runs to social gatherings at local restaurants and bars. Out Central Oregon, a local LGBTQ advocacy organization is hosting a Bend Pride 5k Fun Run/Walk in Drake Park this September, when restrictions will allow this type of in-person gathering. But for now, Out Central Oregon welcomes people to participate in their Virtual Bend Pride event in the last week of June. As for other local June events, Bo’s Falafel Bar, The Dogwood Cocktail Cabin as well as the Tin Pan Theater are all hosting in-person gatherings to celebrate Pride.

  1. Check out some pieces of media that celebrate the LGBTQ experience

From books and movies to TV shows, there are many pieces of media that feature queer characters and celebrate the LGBTQ community. Enjoying some of this entertainment is a great way of safely celebrating Pride. And with a wide range of genres and mediums, there’s bound to be something everyone can enjoy. Disney+’s recent short film “Out,” features Pixar’s first gay main character. “Love, Simon” the 2018 coming of age film about the main character struggling with his coming out experience was adapted from an equally endearing young adult novel, “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.” You can even read a Broadside review on the movie here. There are also a wide variety of films and shows across many genres available for streaming on every platform.

Art by Miina McCown
  1. Educate yourself on LGBTQ history and/or being an ally 
Art by Miina McCown

There are many easy ways to educate yourself on LGBTQ history, and/or how to be a supportive ally toward the community. And what better time to do so than in June? Including Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California, and Marsha P. Johnson, a transgender woman who was one of the leading activists of the Stonewall riots, there are many historical LGBTQ figures that you can read up on as well as the riots themselves. There are also documentaries such as “Paris Is Burning” and “Before Stonewall,” that provide firsthand perspectives and significant messages. Additionally, for some specific advice on how to show support, you can check out the completely free and downloadable “Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Non-Binary Youth,” published by The Trevor Project, a nonprofit advocacy organization for LGBTQ youth.

  1. Pay special attention to pronouns

If you’ve been on the internet at all, you might have noticed that preferred gender pronouns are getting a lot of awareness recently, on everything from professional email signatures to social media bios. Why is this? In order to create an inclusive and respectful environment, it is necessary to use other’s pronouns correctly. And the attention to preferred pronouns online plays a large role in helping transgender individuals feel comfortable expressing themselves. This also prevents an assumption of others’ pronouns. Communicating your preferred pronouns as someone who is an ally, helps in getting closer to abolishing the assumption that people must look a certain way to be able to use their preferred pronouns. So if you haven’t yet, Pride Month is a great time to become more aware of how you communicate your pronouns online or in real life.

Art by Miina McCown
  1. Watch a virtual Pride Parade
Art by Miina McCown

Every year (when we weren’t in a worldwide pandemic) there have been Pride Parades taking place everywhere celebrating queer achievements, acceptance and legal rights. While the physical interactions are limited this year, there are luckily many virtual events in which you can watch Pride Parades and participate in celebrations. The New York City Pride organizers will host many virtual events, including family movie night, human rights conferences, rallies, performances, interviews, on-street activities and more. Details can be viewed in this article. For a more Oregon-centered celebration, the Portland Pride Parade has gone virtual as well and is hosted on Zoom and YouTube, recorded at a private venue. The event will feature up to 60 groups and people, including many of the same groups that are usually in the Portland Pride Parade. 

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