Pride Month sits beautifully and brightly in flaming June every year. Pride Day is celebrated on June 28, but the whole month is a chance to celebrate and do more to raise awareness and support diversity.
When is Pride Month?
Pride Month is celebrated throughout June. In 2021, it runs from Tuesday 1st until Wednesday 30th June. Pride Day itself is Monday 28th June but you can expect lots of celebrations at other points throughout the month. Don’t be confused with the Pride Parades that happen in large cities like London and Brighton – these typically happen in August and September, outside of Pride Month. That said, do expect plenty of colourful parades, concerts, festivals and events – all Covid appropriate of course!
What is Pride Month?
Pride Month is, at its heart, a tribute to those who were involved in the Stonewall Riots in the US in 1969. The Stonewall Riots really changed the landscape of gay rights, not just in the US, but across the world.
Whilst its origins as a tribute remain, it is now a celebration of people uniting in community, friendship and love, celebrating how far LGBT+ rights have come. In addition, it’s about extending and encouraging tolerance and equality. As its name suggests, Pride Month is about celebrating and being proud of who you are. None of this should be limited to one month alone, but June simply puts a great focus on it.
How Pride Month started
In Manhattan, on 28th June 1969, police raided a gay club called Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street. As a result, the punters and locals rioted and demonstrated in total for six days. A crucial leader of the riots was Marsha P Johnson, a black trans bisexual woman. The fundamental goal of the protests was for LGBT+ to be able to be open about their sexuality, and have places to meet, without fear of being arrested.
The following year, Brenda Howard, bisexual activist dubbed ‘The Mother of Pride’ organised Gay Pride Week culminating with the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade.
Pride mushroomed from here. By 1978 there were parades and celebrations all around the world, including in places where there was notable resistance. It was in 1978 that the rainbow flag was born in San Francisco, designed by Gilbert Baker.
Over the years, Pride has remained a celebratory and awareness driven event. However, unsurprisingly, at times it’s taken on a very politically motivated angle. For example, during the 1980s, with the spread of AIDS, activism became central to Pride events.
Gradually, Pride Month became more widely celebrated, with people beyond the LGBT+ community getting involved too, and companies celebrating it as well. By 2000 Bill Clinton was the first president to officially recognise it and called it ‘Gay and Lesbian Pride Month’ and by 2011, Barack Obama called it ‘LGBT Pride Month’.
Why is Pride Month important?
Pride Month remains immensely important. Around the world, LGBT+ people are still oppressed. Indeed, there are still 49 countries where homosexual acts can lead to imprisonment and 11 still use the death penalty against those who are LGBT+.
The focus of Pride Month does tend to vary country by country according to the pressing concerns of the day. For example, this year in the UK the Pride movement is focusing on a range of agenda items, from pressure to enact the Gender Recognition Act Amendment Bill, outlawing conversion therapy and giving LGBT+ communities equal protection with racial and religious hate crime.
All the while there is need for further social reform, Pride Month remains important. Given we know that mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, disproportionately affect LGBT+ people, this is hugely necessary for society as a whole.
Pride Month is needed to offer support to the LGBT+ communities, but also in order to educate wider society.
Pride Month facts and stats
- LGBT individuals are less satisfied with their life than the general UK population.
- Over 2/3 of British LGBT people avoid holding hands with their same sex partner for fear of a negative reaction.
- 2/5 LGBT people in the UK have experienced an incident such as verbal harassment or physical violence. The vast majority go unreported.
- Over 50% of LGBT+ people have experienced depression recently.
- Less than 50% of LGBT+ people are open about their sexual orientation with their family.
Ideas to celebrate Pride Month
How can companies and individuals celebrate Pride Month? When you think about what you can do for Pride Month, it’s good to consider the traditions first. Fundamentally, this is a month for everyone to celebrate who they are and to let everyone know – in style!
Parades, workshops, concerts, parties and other events are all very popular ways to celebrate. The rainbow flag (not just as a flag, but just lots of colour), is often the biggest visual cue to Pride celebrations.
Consider these suggestions for how to celebrate Pride Month 2021:
If you’re a leader in the workplace, or an individual, education should be at the heart of Pride Month. Educate yourself and others. The Pride Month resources that will be best for you will depend on the nature of your organisation, but a quick Google search will point you in the direction of a range of resources you can use. If you can, get LGBT+ speakers to share their stories and spread the word.
Use June as an opportunity to support LGBT+ causes through charity events. You could run events such as Pride themed quiz or bingo nights to fundraise for appropriate charities.
Use the Pride flag with confidence and enthusiasm. From social media profile frames and banners to flying the flag in the office, let the rainbow flag be seen everywhere! If you’re still working remotely, like many of us, switch up your Zoom or video conference background. Use the main Pride Month hashtags on your social media campaigns - #PrideMonth #PrideDay #PrideFlag #PrideParade #LGBTQ #PrideParty #PrideDance #PrideMakeup
Use Pride Month as a chance to review all of your existing policies and practices in the workplace and host inclusion workshops. Make everyone feel welcome and valued at work. Make sure there’s a zero tolerance approach to discrimination in your workplace.
Pride Month is an international event, but individuals make a real difference to how successful it is. Make Pride Month 2021 the one where you make a difference.