As Pride month comes to a close, many allies of the LGBTQ+ community just sort of…stop being active as advocates for said community. This might be because they think that the only time to be loud and proud is in June, or because they need to be reminded to support the community.
Whatever the reasons, the LGBTQ+ should not be limited to one month a year to be proud of who we are. Here are some ways to transform your pride month into an entire pride year.
Steer clear of heteronormativity.
Heteronormativity, according to Merriam-Webster, is the idea “that heterosexuality is the only normal and natural expression of sexuality” there is. Growing up in a heteronormative world made being gay seem like a secret or something that I needed to hide. Everywhere I looked – television, books, magazines, movies – there seemed to be an overwhelming presence of straight couples, an experience that I couldn’t relate to.
So why is there such a lack of representation of LGBTQ+ people, stories, and themes in the media? The answer is simple: we as a society are uncomfortable with gay relationships being displayed in a positive manner. This belief is ingrained deep in the roots of our culture; for centuries, gay relationships have been villainized with lesbian slasher novels, the idea that transgender and gay people are perverted, and more.
Steer clear of heteronormativity by not always assuming that a random couple is straight, and start to teach yourself the idea that gay couples, intersex, and genderqueer people are just as valid as cishet people.
Support LGBTQ+ media.
This includes websites, shows, and events. Websites like queerty.com and lgbtqnation.com are good for raising awareness about different issues the LGBT community faces. TV shows like How to Get Away With Murder and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt show gay relationships (and HIV) being portrayed as normal and accepted.
However, The Guardian reported that “a study by the US gay rights campaigning organization GLAAD has found that only 17 of the 102 movies from major studios in 2013 featured lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters and, of those 17, the majority were offensive and defamatory portrayals.” Not even one of those seventeen movies featured a gay character in the lead role.
Don’t give homophobes and transphobes a platform for hate.
This one is pretty simple. If you see something offensive on social media, don’t comment on it. Please. This is just giving the people behind the post more attention and boosting their audience. Only speak out if what someone is doing is affecting other people, or if you are trying to have an educated and mature conversation with the person whose ideas differ from yours.
Help LGBTQ+ voices be heard.
Instead of putting a platform under the feet of homophobes and transphobes, lift up the LGBTQ+ voices that aren’t heard often enough. This includes groups less recognized such as trans women of color, bisexual men, intersex people, and asexual people.
Organize a pride parade!
Just because it isn’t pride month doesn’t mean you can’t show off your gay. Gaypridecalendar.com has a long listing of different pride marches that go on throughout the entire year. Make a sign; march with friends; share your experiences online. Pride parades are a fun way to show your support and rally with the community.
Hopefully, allies will wake up and realize that June isn’t the only time to show off their support and will start to keep the spirit of pride month year round, whether by refusing to conform to society’s ideals or creating more opportunities to strive for equality. The present is the best time to support the LGBTQ+ community and get your gay on, whether during June or not.
Featured Image via Matthew Crawford