As most of us know, June is LGBTQ+ Pride month. The first official pride celebrations started in 1970 in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. The first pride march, called the Christopher Street Liberation Day March took place in 1970. Since then, the movement has expanded to week long festivals all over the world. Since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same sex marriage many people question why Pride is still celebrated. For the same reason that there is International Women’s Day and Black History Month, there is Pride Month; groups that have been oppressed and discriminated against rise up to celebrate themselves and to show the world that they will not be silent.
While it is a celebration of sexuality and openness, Pride month is also a political statement. Almost every festival will have a memorial for LGBTQ+ people that have died or been killed because of hate. We honor those who commit suicide because they can’t find acceptance, those who are disowned for their sexuality, those who are attacked because of who they hold hands with, and those who die for who they love.
Pride celebrates the rights that have been won: marriage, workplace rights, military service, adoption. The marches also call for the rights we still don’t have and an end to violence.
The celebrations provide a safe environment for people to be open and comfortable with their sexuality. It gives people of all ages, races, genders, abilities, and orientations resources to be safe and healthy.
Finally, Pride shows that you shouldn’t be ashamed. For people who live in places that aren’t supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, Pride lets them know that they aren’t alone. Their sexuality is normal and valid and doesn’t have to be hidden.
Pride celebrates perseverance in the face of extreme adversity and the freedom to be you.
Whether you are part of the LGBTQ+ community or not, Pride is a wonderful way to show your support, meet inspiring people, and make a stand for what you believe in.
Every best wish,
Anchorage PrideFest is this week! Schedule here.