If you haven’t had the pleasure of attending your local Pride celebration, you’re missing a part of the quintessential queer experience. Sure, it feels a bit silly, but historically speaking, all the color and festivities come from a place of demanding equality, and as such it’s something everyone should participate in at least once in your life.
Not everyone is cut out to head the front float, though, and that’s okay. So what are some of the other things you can do to help support the queer community this Pride season?
1. Attend a parade.
You don’t have to be a part of the parade to have some fun with it. There are so many fun and interesting people at Pride celebrations, and there is no shortage of excitement to be had. It’s even an excuse to don your most ridiculous outfits, if you choose. Why not go all out?
2. Support local queer-owned businesses.
Statistically speaking, out lesbians probably make less money than almost anyone else, and that’s sort of a problem. Queer-owned businesses are a huge wrench in this statistic, because queer business owners tend to be more likely to pay their queer employees fairly. It might take a bit of searching, but you’ll most likely find one or two in your local community, and even more if you live in a thriving “gay” metropolis such as San Francisco or Toronto.
3. Visit some of the most gay-friendly cities.
Not everyone has the budget to travel to Tel Aviv, which is considered the undisputed queer capital of the world, despite the surrounding area’s tense views toward the gay community. But there are 11 cities around the world that have been rated as “the most gay-friendly” – chances are, one is close enough for you to make a trip. If you have the chance, definitely try to visit a Pride celebration in the city you visit – it’s sure to be an unforgettable vacation.
4. Come out, if you haven’t done so already.
Let me preface this by saying that you should not come out if it is dangerous for you to do so. If you are living with parents who won’t approve and you don’t have a way to support yourself if things go sour, it’s almost essential that you stay in the closet, and I completely understand that. But if you’re living on your own, or can reasonably afford to do so, coming out gives you a feeling of strength and freedom that you can’t imagine until you’ve actually experienced it.
5. Start a queer-themed blog.
Most blogs aren’t a huge success, but it can be super freeing to have a place on the internet where you can be completely and unapologetically yourself – and if you haven’t come out to your friends and family yet, it can be really difficult to find that place outside of the internet. Opening a blog is one way to make sure you can be yourself. And, if/when you do come out, you can always share the links to the fun queer resources you’ve built up there. (Hint: I recommend Tumblr.)
6. Read up on queer issues.
I’ll admit – up until about a year ago, I didn’t really care much about queer news. (I think it was the 40 text messages I got when marriage equality passed here in the US that got me interested – all of my straight friends knew before I did! How embarrassing.) If you’re not already up on the queer issues around the world, it’s a good time to start – Pride season means that they’ll be covered in more mainstream news outlets than they would the rest of the year, and this can make it a lot easier to get started.
7. Take shamelessly cheesy pictures with your BFFs.
Whether your friends are gay, bi, straight, or whatever, truly this is meant to be a time of celebration – and what better way to celebrate than with your best friends? These are people you choose to have in your life to support you, so why not have a fun day out on the town and enjoy each other’s company? If they’re willing, it can be fun to take them to a Pride parade with you, especially if you’re worried about feeling out-of-place, but keep in mind that they, too, might feel out of place.
What other Pride season ideas do you have? Drop them in the comments below!