top of page

June 2024 is LGBTQ+ Pride Month

When you see all the bright, colorful flags waving in the wind at the Pride parades across the world every year, it is easy to forget that Pride started out as a riot.  In 1969 there was a riot when arrests were made at the Stonewall Inn in New York City.  During the 1960's and before, there were many laws and regulations in place persecuting the LGBTQ+ community.

After the Stonewall riots, there were some political changes, however, according to History,

Thanks to activists’ efforts, these regulations were overturned in 1966, and LGBT patrons could then be served alcohol. But engaging in gay behavior in public (holding hands, kissing or dancing with someone of the same sex) was still illegal, so police harassment of gay bars continued and many bars still operated without liquor licenses—in part because they were owned by the Mafia.

Think about what it would be like to be unable to hold your partner's hand in public, or to be considered disorderly and be banned from being served alcohol! This is just a little bit of what previous generations had to face in being true to their hearts and expressing their identities. No one should have to face being jailed for being who they are, or loving who they love.

As millennials, we had it a bit easier, thanks to the generations who took political action before us. However, being a part of the LGBTQ+ community still went against the grain socially in the 1990's. In the wake of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980's there was still hate and fear associated with gay identities.

Although a few of my friends came out as gay or bisexual in high school, many others waited until college and beyond to do so. Many who did come out at a young age faced backlash from friends, family and the church community. One girlfriend was banned from seeing her best friend, another friend was banned from attending church.

As adults, we have had an easier time with being out in public as Millennials. A huge victory came for the LGBTQ+ community in 2015 with gay marriage becoming legal in the United States in 2015. This was a hard-won victory, and it is still creating some controversy with conservatives.

Throughout our history, the LGBTQ+ community has come under attack, especially from the religious right.  Even today, with the changes to the supreme court and a series of laws introduced across the country, rights are under attack.  This time, the bulk of the laws are targeting young people trying to receive gender-affirming medical care.

With laws so extreme in some places that parents can be prosecuted for seeking this type of care for their children, families have had to move, or to make sure plans for alternate guardianship are in place for their children if the parents should be put in jail.  No parent should have to choose between caring for their child, and being prosecuted.

As a mom myself, this is absolutely heart breaking.  It is a sad thing that our country has come to in persecuting children, taking their rights to healthcare away, and using them as pawns in a political chess game.

During Pride month, those of us in the LGBTQ+ community who are older have a platform to speak up and advocate for young people who are now where we have been.  They are searching for answers, for community and belonging, and to find a feeling of safety in their identities.  By promoting inclusivity, we can hope to make an impact, and help our young people have an easier time of things than we had in the past.

We shouldn’t have to struggle with unjust laws and religious persecution that makes us feel afraid to be who we are, and to love who we love.  Children shouldn’t have to be afraid to talk about their identities in school for fear of bullying, and push-back from school administration.

In the past, schools have often served as safe spaces, with kids coming out to friends and teachers before their parents.  With a Gen-Z, bisexual daughter, I have seen the way that she and her friends support each other in their coming out journeys, and have a greater degree of acceptance for their friends in all colors of the rainbow than we had in the past.

While the accepting nature of Gen-Z in general, this bodes in a positive way for the future.  However, many of these young people aren’t able to vote yet, so those of us who are older still have a responsibility to act and advocate for basic rights of everyone in the LGBTQ+ community in the political sphere.

It shouldn’t have to be our responsibility to get involved in political advocacy just because of our own identities, but with the political climate being the way it is, those of us who have been out for a while are often thrust into this position whether it is what we want or not.  Just by virtue of being out and visible, we are making a political statement.

If you walk down the street and are obviously trans or non-binary, or holding hands with a same-sex partner, you are making a political statement just by being who you are.  Being yourself is a statement that we all make on a daily basis; being an advocate becomes something that isn't always a choice.

People may talk to you about political issues concerning LGBTQ+ rights, ask you about your coming out experience or relationships, or how you feel about kids receiving gender-affirming care. You may be the only LGBTQ+ person that they know; so you become the default person that they ask about this type of issues.

In addition to answering questions from friends, family or coworkers about what your own identity means, pride flags, pronouns, you may be placed in a role where you are constantly having to educate others. At times, this may feel like an unfair burden. However, being "loud and proud" helps others who may still be afraid to come out of the closet.

During this Pride month, those of us who have been out for years can stand at the forefront of the crowd in advocating for LGBTQ+ rights for all, and promoting education for anyone who wants to understand more about different identities and what they mean.

While the experience of one person in the LGBTQ+ community may be quite different from another, by sharing our own stories, we can provide a safe space for others to do the same.

This month, though Pride is under attack and the government has offered safety warnings, there are many events going on across the country and the world.

USA Today provides a list of dates and information about some of the Pride events in major cities across the US:

Provincetown, MA: May 31-June 2

If you decide to attend a local Pride event this month, make sure that you are aware that there could be anti-gay protesters at the event, and keep yourself safe at all times.

Here are some Pride safety tips from the San Francisco Police Department for attending Pride events:

  • Pride is about community. Look out for each other and report any suspicious persons or activity to event staff or a police officer. A good adage is, “If you see something, say something.” In an emergency, call 9-1-1. To provide an anonymous tip, call the SFPD Anonymous Tip Line at 1-415-575-4444.

  • Stay informed of emergencies or significant events by signing up for emergency text message alerts by texting the word PRIDESF to 888-777. AlertSF allows us to notify you of emergencies in San Francisco.

  • Keep your friends close and your drinks closer. Don’t accept drinks from strangers. Drink responsibly and don’t drink and drive - always use a designated driver.

  • The San Francisco Bay Area has a host of public transit options that will get you to, from and around Pride events.

  • If you drive to the festivities, remember to “Park Smart!” Take your valuables with you, don’t leave them inside your car.

  • Maintain possession of your cell phone, wallet and other valuables.

  • There is safety in numbers. Stay with a group when on the street or leaving bars and clubs. Be cautious about leaving a bar or club with a stranger. A rule of thumb is that if you feel “unsure” about someone, rely on that instinct and do not go with that person.

Although these phone numbers are unique to the San Francisco area, you can look up local police and emergency phone numbers before attending your local pride event. If there isn't another number available, you can always call 911 if you see a suspicious person at your pride event.

Also, like with any big event, make sure you take sunscreen and bottled water with you. This way, you are protecting yourself from the sun during the Pride celebration.

I hope that you all have a happy and safe Pride month, whether you are out or not. It isn't a responsibility to others to be out if you aren't ready, and no one should force you to come out if you feel that your safety is in danger from doing so. It can be hard to self-advocate, and it is perfectly understandable if you aren't ready yet.

During this month, let me know if you have questions, or if there are additional topics you would like me to cover in the future.

To read more, check out these other articles:

As parents and LGBTQ+ adults, we can do a great deal to promote equality, and to create safe spaces for the younger generations to be able to come out, share their stories, and celebrate that Love is Love without having to be afraid of who they are.


bottom of page