Pride Month: Looking Ahead

| By Sarah Jester

By Sarah Jester | Digital Media Manager, NGLCC
(they/them/theirs)

It’s here - the month that many of us spend the rest of the year awaiting. Consumers everywhere are now regularly inundated with flags and T-shirts adorned with rainbows and cheeky celebratory phrases. As COVID-19 restrictions continue to be reduced, Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Whitney Houston will blare from restaurants and bars as eager diners line up outside to be admitted. To many outsiders, Pride may seem like just a party. But the month of June represents so much more to our community.

Pride Month is a recognition and celebration of the ongoing fight for justice for the LGBTQ+ community. From Marsha P. Johnson to Harvey Milk, to Jim Obergefell to Billy Porter, June is a time to honor their legacies and carry them forward. Although American society and politics have come a considerably long way since the homophobia and transphobia that stirred the Stonewall riots, there remains much to be accomplished. After all, same sex marriage was affirmed by the Supreme Court a mere six years ago. Our fight for equality is year-round, but our increased visibility during this month allows our message to carry far and wide and become more powerful than ever.

Pride Month is also a time for LGBTQ+ individuals to recognize and cherish their chosen families. Many queer folks have experienced rejection and harmful responses from family members after coming out, or after being discovered as queer. For these individuals, nothing is more powerful than a network of close queer friends and associates. Although they are not related by blood, they are related through struggle and a unique, unconditional love - that of true brothers. In this sense, chosen families that are composed of LGBTQ+ individuals are united through their boldness in defying antiquated societal norms and the strength to love passionately and publicly.

For allies, nothing is more important during this time than amplifying the voices of LGBTQ+ individuals. One of the most effective ways to demonstrate allyship and celebrate Pride is to support LGBT business owners. Having been with NGLCC for three years of Pride celebrations, I have personally witnessed firsthand the value and impact of sourcing directly from LGBT-owned businesses, especially for Pride gear and celebrations. Amplifying and donating to organizations that support LGBT individuals, especially youth, is also a powerful way to give back to the community during Pride.

June is a time to fight especially hard for justice. It is a time to look back on our community’s history, to look within, and to look ahead to the work that is left to be done. This work cannot be accomplished alone - we all must rally together.

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Visit nglcc.org/affiliatepride to learn more about how you can get involved in Pride events and celebrations around the country this June.

Sarah Jester is the Digital Media Manager at the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). They work to create dynamic digital content to connect NGLCC with its audience and NGLCC members with each other. They are currently obtaining their bachelors and masters degrees at George Washington University.