The following blog was co-written by Theo, a youth that participates in JusticeWorks Independent Living Services.
Pride can mean different things to many different people but for the people within the LGBTQIA+ community, it means self-acceptance, visibility, equality, and love.
THE HISTORY OF PRIDE MONTH:
Every June, we celebrate Pride Month in honor of the 1969 Stonewall riots and the ongoing strides that the world is taking to achieve equal justice and opportunities for the LGBTQIA+ community. The Stonewall riots took place in June of 1969 when patrons as well as supporters of the Stonewall Inn in NYC staged an uprising to resist ongoing harassment and persecution which the LGBTQIA+ community was commonly subjected to. This was the initial movement that took place to outlaw discriminiatory laws and practices against the community.
WHY WE CELEBRATE PRIDE MONTH:
The reason we celebrate Pride is to honor those who may have given up their freedom or lives so that others could be seen and heard. We also celebrate Pride Month to honor all of those that fight for equality and continue to make strides towards being accepted. It is so important to be seen or just even see yourself in someone else. That is why representation and Pride is so important. If you see someone like you then you feel like it is ok to be yourself and to not have to pretend to be someone else. It is also nice to have people who support you know matter what you identify as.
HOW TO CELEBRATE PRIDE MONTH:
Today, celebrations include parades, picnics, parties, workshops, concerts, walks, and so much more. Throughout the world there are memorials held throughout the month for those within the community that have lost their lives to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. Many states have different ways to celebrate Pride Month. Like Pennsylvania for example, Pittsburgh has three days where they celebrate Pride. Two days for a block party across the bridge in Pittsburgh and the last day for the actual parade. Florida has a Fernandina Beach Pride Festival along with Youth Pride Conferences’ that younger members of the LGBTQ+ community can participate in. Maryland, Ohio, South Carolina, and Colorado all have their own Pride parades and celebrations as well. While these ones aren’t as big as maybe the San Diego Pride Parade, they still represent the overall larger picture which is just being seen and heard.
JUSTICEWORKS + PRIDE:
JusticeWorks supports Pride month in many different ways. They train their employees so they are in the loop with what is going on in the LGBTQ+ community and how to handle different situations with youth that are a part of the community. They are inclusive.