By Samson Weinberg
June is unofficially recognized in the United States as LGBT Pride Month, even if Rochester typically waits until July for Pride Week. This year, however, is sure to have a Pride Month to remember, as 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising that led to increased recognition and rights for LGBT people across the nation. However you plan to get involved this year, use these tips to make sure you’re celebrating Pride Month respectfully and supporting the LGBT community appropriately.
Make Mindful Merchandise Choices
Many companies and organizations have started to pick up on Pride Month as a commercially viable opportunity, meaning you’re likely to start seeing rainbow products on shelves everywhere. However, not everything with a rainbow on it means your money is supporting the LGBT community. The U.S. apparel market is expected to grow to an estimated value of $385 billion by 2025, and any apparel company with a good marketing team is going to start putting rainbows on their clothing if they notice it sells better around Pride Month. Whenever possible, try to support your local, smaller, LGBT-owned stores; you’ll be helping individual creators directly this way.
Give What You Can
While some progress has been made since the Stonewall uprising fifty years ago, many LGBT people still face discrimination and struggle on a regular basis. Pride Month is an excellent opportunity to support non-profit organizations that help improve life for the LGBT community and provide much-needed resources. You might even find yourself wanting to give more often; 55% of those who engage with nonprofits via social media have been inspired to take further action.
Not all organizations will require the same sorts of donations or support. Check with local organizations like the Out Alliance to see what donations are needed. Some will prefer physical items like food or clothing, while others collect money to help support LGBT families directly. Surrogacy for gay men typically costs anywhere between $100,000 and $200,000, and many look for financial support from local non-profits that you can help support with your donations.
If you plan on attending one of the many Pride Month events taking place over the next few weeks, either as part of the community or as an ally, remember that not everyone in the LGBT community is able to be open about that part of their life. What might look initially like a straight couple might not be, or they may be there to support a loved one. Pride events are intended to be supportive for all members of the community regardless of whether they can safely be out or not; make sure you’re doing what you can to make sure everyone feels welcome.
Many people see Pride Month as an opportunity to have fun, celebrate, and attend events decked out in rainbows. However, Pride Month exists for a reason, and on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, it’s important to remember why people are celebrating. Enjoy Pride Month responsibly, and be sure to support your local organizations and businesses while celebrating.