Why is LGBTQIA+ Pride Month important?
Throughout history, members of the LGBTQ+ community have faced discrimination and persecution and have struggled for their basic human rights to be recognized. Although the situation is gradually improving across more liberal parts of the world, bigotry, and misinformation are still rampant. This is evidenced by the sad fact that several countries around the world still have laws that are designed to oppress or punish homosexuality. By fostering awareness and education, we can strive towards a future in which an individual’s social standing is independent of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
For those of you who don’t know; LGBTQIA+ is an expanded initialism that represents lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or questioning), intersex, and asexual (or allied) people, formally printed as simply LGBT and now often shortened to LGBTQ+.
Raising awareness is crucial in fostering acceptance of LGBT people, as it helps break down stereotypes, combat discrimination, and promote a more inclusive and diverse society.
The History of Pride Month: Stonewall Riots to Today
The Stonewall Riots of 1969 were a series of protests that occurred after police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in New York City. The police were targeting the bar because it was a gathering place for the LGBTQ+ community, and homosexuality was illegal in New York at the time. However, the patrons of the bar fought back against the police, which led to a series of protests and clashes that lasted for several days. The Stonewall Uprising protests are considered to be a turning point in the gay rights movement, as they brought issues of discrimination and violence against LGBTQ+ people to the forefront of American consciousness.
In the years following the Stonewall Riots, LGBTQ+ activists and allies began organizing “gay pride” parades and events in major cities across the country. The first official Pride march took place in New York City on June 28, 1970, exactly one year after the Stonewall Riots. The purpose of the march was to commemorate the riots and to demand equal rights and protections for LGBTQ+ people.
Today, Pride Month is celebrated every June in the United States and in many other countries around the world (notable exceptions include Australia and New Zealand, where Pride events take place in February and March to coincide with the southern hemisphere summer. In Brazil, Pride events take place in May).
Regardless of when it is celebrated, Pride history month is a time for LGBTQ+ people and allies to come together in a safe space to celebrate their identities and continue the fight for equality. Pride events often include pride parades, marches, the waving of pride flags, and rainbow decorations.
Despite the progress that has been made since the Stonewall Riots, discrimination and violence against LGBTQ+ people still exist today. Pride Month serves as a reminder of the ongoing civil rights movement for equality and the importance of continuing to fight for the rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Pride Month Activities for Your Classroom
Let’s celebrate diversity and inclusivity by spreading awareness of the LGBT community. Kami is here to provide you with ideas to create an inclusive learning environment, regardless of the age group you teach. Check out these ways to celebrate pride month through promoting awareness and understanding of the LGBT community with your students.
- Introduce novels, films, tv shows, or other media that involve LGBTQ+ characters or were written by a queer person. Some famous examples include: “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde, and “Orlando” by Virginia Woolf. Any one of these (and many more) would make an excellent book study to include in your lesson plans.
- Find some LGBTQ+ playlists! Spotify has an entire category called “Pride” that includes music from well-established and up-and-coming musicians who are part of the LGBTQ community.
- Rainbow Writing — Provide students with rainbow-colored pencils, markers, or crayons and have them write a short story, poem, or letter related to Pride Month. Encourage them to use the colors of the rainbow in their writing and to reflect on the themes of diversity, acceptance, and love.
- Pride Trivia — Organize a Pride-themed trivia game using Quizlet or a similar site for the class. Create a list of questions about LGBTQ+ history, culture, and famous activists and allies. Split the class into teams and see who can answer the most questions correctly.
- A “wall of pride” featuring photos, biographies, and quotes from prominent LGBTQ+ activists and allies.
- A “pride library” featuring books with LGBTQ+ themes or characters, which students can browse and borrow. If your school library is lacking, the local library should be able to help.
- A poster or banner featuring the Pride flag or other LGBTQ+ symbols, accompanied by a message of inclusion and acceptance.
- A display featuring famous LGBTQ+ individuals from history, such as Harvey Milk, Audre Lorde, or Marsha P. Johnson.
- Decorate your classroom! Pride Month is usually recognized with rainbow flags and similar adornments.
P.S. These don’t have to come down in July! Many classrooms and workplaces now show support for the LGBTQ+ community year-round.
Hopefully, you found this blog informative, and some of these suggestions helpful. Acknowledging and celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride Month can make queer students, or students with queer family members, feel supported and less alienated. Especially because, although many more people feel comfortable “coming out” publicly, many in the LGBTQ+ community still choose to keep their orientations a secret from their peers. The suggestions in this blog are meant to be a fun way for you to celebrate inclusivity and support mental health struggles that many young LGBTQ+ people still face to this day.
By actively promoting and celebrating Pride Month, we can show support for the LGBT community and help create a world where everyone feels safe and respected for who they are.
From everyone at Kami, Happy Pride Month!