Trigger warning: This post discusses heavy topics.
As a cisgender white female, writing on a topic I don’t have the authority to speak on is difficult. BUT just because I’m a cis white female, it doesn’t mean that I can’t get involved in Pride, understand its historical importance, and be an LGBTQ+ ally. While I am not a fan of companies virtue signalling when it comes to Pride Month, we at StudySmarter hope that our posts for Pride will bring some much-needed awareness on issues still plaguing the LGBTQ+ community. So, as a start, if you’re not sure about what exactly Pride means and how you can do better for the LGBTQ+ community, then read on.
Historically Proud: The History of Pride Month ❤
‘Statistically, in recent years, LGBTQ people here have been less safe than ever. In England and Wales, anti-LGBTQ hate crimes rose every year in the five financial years up to 2021, according to official government statistics. Earlier this year, three people were convicted in the homophobic murder of Gary Jenkins, a bisexual man, in Cardiff, Wales. LGBTQ spaces have also been targeted. A few years ago in Cumbria, a white supremacist was jailed for his plot to carry out a “slaughter” at a gay pride night. In 2016, 49 people were killed in Orlando at the LGBTQ nightclub Pulse — exactly where they were supposed to be safe.’ – Ella Braidwood, The unbridled joy of queer bars
I often fight with people on social media when it comes to posts about LGBTQ+ issues. The hate, bigotry, disinformation, prejudice, and religious righteousness I see angers me to no end. And as I said, I’m a cis white female who has never had to experience what it’s like to grapple with my identity and sexual orientation. I read a lot of articles, and I see tons of comments on these articles like, ‘If there’s a Pride month, why can’t we get a straight month!’ or ‘I’m tired of having all this Pride stuff shoved in my face!’ or ‘Pride is just pushing the left agenda – it’s all about control!’ But this is EXACTLY why we need Pride and to learn about its historical context. Many people seem to think Pride is all about rainbows, glitter, wild parties, and risque outfits – and nothing more. But they couldn’t be further from the truth.
The Stonewall Inn 🧡
The Stonewall Inn, which still exists as a historic landmark today, was a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village, New York City. On 28 June 1969, police raided the bar – packed with gay, lesbian, and transgender customers – and tried to put some of the customers and workers in the back of police vans (transgender people were especially targeted because it was illegal back then for anyone to ‘cross-dress’). But tired of being harassed by law enforcement, the LGBT community at Stonewall Inn that night began to fight back, leading to riots that lasted until 3 July, which set off a new era of resistance and revolution.
While there were gay rights organisations fighting for change before the Stonewall Riots, these fights were more passive in nature. What happened at Stonewall was visceral, physical, and loud, and it marked a watershed moment for the gay rights movement. In the post-World War II era, there was a rise in anti-homosexual attitudes and policies, born out of a fear that ‘deviant sexual behaviour’ was like ‘deviant political ideology’. Thousands of people suspected to be homosexual lost their jobs, and at this point, all 50 US states criminalised same-sex sexual activities. Furthermore, the American Psychiatric Association classified homosexuality as a mental disorder in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (thankfully, this was removed in the early 1970s).
After the Stonewall Rebellion, an activist suggested that nationwide demonstrations should be held each June to honour and commemorate what happened at Stonewall.
Here’s a short YouTube clip about the Stonewall 50th anniversary and the tremendous impact it had on shaping the course of LGBT history:
On Netflix, you can watch The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson to learn more about the impact of the Stonewall Riots and her life as a trans activist, including how the trans community is still extremely marginalised today, even within the LGBTQ+ community. It’s an eye-opening documentary, and it personally helped me understand why JK Rowling, with her stance on biological sex, is extremely harmful to the trans community. You can also check out Pray Away on Netflix, which explores the impact of Christianity on the LGBTQ+ community.
Christopher Street Liberation Day 💛
As a result of the Stonewall Riots, New York had its first Pride parade in June 1970, also known as the Christopher Street Liberation Day. The parade, in the form of a march, began on Christopher Street, where the Stonewall Inn is located. Other Gay Pride marches were held at the same time in Chicago and Los Angeles. These parades signalled a fight for equal gay rights and visibility of the gay community, and more cities and towns began holding their own parades to support gay rights in the following years.
‘The marches were among the first highly visible public events for people to express their gay sexuality and for allies to have an opportunity to support the gay people in their lives.’ – Evelynn Hammonds, chair of the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University
LGBT Pride Today 💚
In 2009, 40 years after the Stonewall riots, then-US President Barack Obama declared June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. Ironically, it was only in 2011 when the same-sex marriage act was signed into law in New York. Most recently, President Joe Biden declared June 2022 LGBTQI+ Pride Month.
A general definition of LGBTQ pride (also known as gay pride) is ‘the promotion of the self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people as a social group.’ Pride is celebrated annually (typically in June, although different countries can and do celebrate it at different times throughout the year) and includes various activities such as parades, parties, concerts, and symposia. There are also memorials to remember LGBTQ+ persons killed because of hate crimes. The overall purpose of Pride Month is to recognise and acknowledge the contributions LGBTQ+ individuals have made throughout history. It’s also an opportunity for LGBTQ+ individuals to express themselves and their culture and gain visibility, especially in communities where they are typically shunned or looked down upon.
Quick fact: Thom Higgins, a gay rights activist, coined the term ‘Gay Pride’.
The wonderful thing about Pride events is that they are inclusive and open to anyone. So while they are designed for those identifying outside what is deemed ‘mainstream’, straight people and allies can absolutely join too. However, if you’re a straight person attending Pride Month events, it’s important that you’re not just there because you like a good party – you should be an ally and participate in meaningful conversations. The LGBTQ+ community continues to face persecution and discrimination, ranging from slurs and attacks to conversion-therapy camps and even the death penalty. Therefore, you need to be mindful of the true meaning of Pride and how you can play your part in advancing the rights and dignity of the LGBTQ+ community.
Pride Month June 2022 💙
Pride Month 2022 runs from Wednesday, 1 June, to Thursday, 30 June. You’ve probably noticed a lot of companies and brands virtue-signalling these past few weeks by changing the colours of their logos to the rainbow or running campaigns that are way off the mark, like BurgerKing in Austria that introduced their Pride WHOPPERTM (seriously, just check out the comments from the LGBTQ+ community on why this is problematic).
That’s why I want to hammer the message home: don’t be a virtue signaller! If you want to participate in Pride events, go for it, but make sure you’re doing it out of a genuine interest in and care for raising awareness about the issues the LGBTQ+ community faces. And when you’re an ally, you should be an ally all year round, not only when everyone is watching! If you’re going to be an ally, make sure you’re a good ally. Check out our post on how to be a good ally!
Here are some important dates for Pride Month:
- 5 June: HIV Long-Term Survivors Day.
- 12 June: Pulse Remembrance Day to remember those we lost in the 2016 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub, an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
- 26 June: Anniversary of the Obergefell vs Hodges ruling, which honours the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the US.
- 27 June: National HIV Testing Day.
- 28 June: The Stonewall Riots Anniversary.
- 30 June: Queer Youth of Faith Day to celebrate queer youth from different religious backgrounds.
Pride Month UK 2022 💜
We all know how influential and powerful the United Kingdom is. That’s why it’s sad (and horrifying) to see how a supposedly progressive and first-world country still grapples with issues surrounding LGBTQ+ rights. In July 2021, Dr Gary Jenkins was murdered in Cardiff in a homophobic attack. And statistics from the Home Office indicate that hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community have doubled in the past four years. Recent statistics show that from January to August 2021, almost 15,000 homophobic hate offences occurred (and these were just the ones that were reported). The tragic murder of Dr Jenkins is one of the countless attacks on LGBTQ+ people worldwide. The trans community, in particular, is highly susceptible to hate crimes. And the hate crimes aren’t even the tip of the iceberg – people from the LGBTQ+ community face a plethora of other issues, including the right to adopt, access to housing, the right to equal healthcare, the right to access public spaces, and acceptance.
‘Every decade of my adult life I’ve known someone who’s either been killed or severely injured by anti-LGBT violence.’ – Lisa Power, one of the founders of the Stonewall Charity
It’s a lot. And it’s no wonder why people of the LGBTQ+ community are at increased risks of depression, suicidality, and substance abuse. Once again, this is WHY Pride exists, and it is why you should be an LGBTQ+ ally and attend events like Pride whenever you can.
Pride Month UK 2022 Theme 🤎
Each Pride in different cities will have its own theme. For London’s Pride parade, the march is a call on the UK Government to ban conversion therapy, reform Gender Recognition, and provide equal protection to LGBTQ+ communities against hate crimes.
This year’s theme at Pride in London is #AllOurPride, which commemorates watershed historical events that have shaped and championed diversity in the UK.
Pride Month UK 2022 Events 🖤
If you’re in the UK, you can join the Pride in London parade on Saturday, 2 July. It’ll be a big one because it marks the 50th anniversary of Pride in the UK. The parade will start at Hyde Park Corner and follow the route of the historic 1972 march. Below is a table of some bigger events happening across the UK and Ireland. If you do attend a Pride event and want to get yourself in the party spirit, then give Spotify’s Pride Party 2022 a listen!
|Enfield Pride||Sat, 18 June to Sun, 19 June||Enfield Pride (prideinlondon.org)|
|Exmouth, Silloth, Stoke on Trent, Suffolk, and York Pride||Sat, 18 June||UK Gay Pride Calendar (gayprideshop.co.uk)|
|Shining a light on queer stories across museums||Sat, 18 June||Shining a light on queer stories across museums (prideinlondon.org)|
|The LGBTQ+ Dead||Sat, 18 June||The LGBTQ+ Dead (prideinlondon.org)|
|Free Queer and LGBTQ+ History Tour of London||Sun, 19 June to Sun, 26 June||Free Queer & LGBTQ+ History Tour of London (prideinlondon.org)|
|LGBTQ+ House Tour||Wed, 22 June||LGBTQ+ House Tour (prideinlondon.org)|
|Great North Wood LGBTQ+ Nature Nurtures Evening||Thurs, 23 June||Great North Wood LGBTQ+ Nature Nurtures Evening (prideinlondon.org)|
|Dover, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Newport, Salford Pride||Sat, 25 June||UK Gay Pride Calendar (gayprideshop.co.uk)|
|Dublin Pride||Sat, 25 June||Dublin Pride (pride-events.co.uk)|
|Lancaster Pride||Sun, 26 June||UK Gay Pride Calendar (gayprideshop.co.uk)|
|Queer Noise IV||Tues, 28 June||Queer Noise IV (prideinlondon.org)|
|Laugh Out Proud||Tues, 28 June||Laugh Out Proud – Comedy Night (prideinlondon.org)|
|Poetry LGBT Open Mic Night||Wed, 29 June||Poetry LGBT Open Mic Night (prideinlondon.org)|
|Series Q: Bringing together LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and creators||Thurs, 30 June||Series Q: Bringing together LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and creators (prideinlondon.org)|
|Barnabas Presents: Pride||Sat, 2 July to Sun, 3 July||Barnabas Presents: Pride (prideinlondon.org)|
|Post-Pride Mass||Sun, 10 July||Post-Pride Mass (prideinlondon.org)|
|The new Queer Britain Museum at Kings Cross||Wednesdays to Sundays throughout the year||Queer Britain (queerbritain.org.uk)|
If you check out UK Gay Pride Calendar, you can find more Pride events for the rest of the year.
Pride Equals Visibility: Why You Should Care 🏳🌈
I’ve spoken to a few LGBTQ+ friends about Pride, and they all agree that Pride is a complex topic. My one friend mentioned that in some ways, Pride has devolved into a marketing ploy, especially for companies who like to ‘Rainbow Wash’ by plastering Rainbow logos on their social media for June and then … that’s it. My other friend, Luke, an LGBTQ+ activist in South Africa, wrote a brilliant piece on ‘Gay Rage’ and how the LGBTQ+ community needs to get angry about LGBTQ+ issues plaguing South Africa, including the horrific problem of the ‘corrective rape’ of lesbian women. Often, it’s so easy to focus on the glitz and fun of Pride parades and then forget about the real, raw issues plaguing the LGBTQ+ community across the world. As Luke says,
‘I think Pride is important. It is needed to show the LGBTQ+ community that they are not alone. It serves the purpose to make us visible. BUT! The nature of Pride should be political. It started as a protest, and it should keep that as its base. It has become commercialised and runs the risk of losing its core purpose, which is to raise awareness about the issues facing the LGBTQ+ community.’
That’s why when you attend a Pride event this year – whether you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community or not – remember that you’re there to raise awareness, be an ally, and be a voice for active change. As much as you want to celebrate and have a party, you should equally be there because you’re angry and frustrated that even in 2022, being a member of the LGBTQ+ community is still a crime in some countries, and people are still being assaulted and humiliated because of their sexual orientation and identities. I recently discovered that Japan (a progressive, first-world country) bans same-sex marriage!
If you want to make real change, donate to LGBTQ+ organisations (do your due diligence and make sure the money is actually going to the charity – for example, buying the Pride WHOPPERTM from Burger King probably isn’t doing anything for LGBTQ+ charities, sorry to say). You can check out the UK’s Stonewall charity (officially Stonewall Equality Limited). It is an LGBT rights charity, and each year, they host the Stonewall Awards, which awahttps://www.stonewall.org.uk/rds those who have affected the lives of British lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.
Also, don’t just limit your activism to Pride month. You should continue to educate yourself whenever possible about the LGBTQ+ community – watch documentaries, read books, support LGBTQ+ artists, be there for your LGBTQ+ friends, attend protests, listen, and stand up for the community where you can. I often try to have conversations with people who make derogatory remarks about the LGBTQ+ community on social media. Often, I don’t get very far with them, but you never know if what you say will one day have an impact on one person. Also, report any hateful comments you see on social media.
StudySmarter and Pride Month 🏳⚧
Lastly, we briefly want to mention what we’re doing for Pride Month (and throughout the rest of the year) here at StudySmarter:
- We are committed to diversity and inclusion; you will see this on our job ads and throughout the hiring process. Please let us know how we can support you if you apply for a job with us.
- We are working on the app and have added some LGBT history to our History explanations.
- We support all of our employees as best we can and do our best to create an inclusive culture committed to our people’s mental health and well-being.
As students, if you have any ideas on how we can contribute to raising awareness for the LGBTQ+ community, reach out to us!
Enjoy the rest of Pride Month, and remember WHY we celebrate it. Also, if you’re struggling with suicide, bullying, or overwhelming feelings, please contact the following organisations in the UK:
|mosaic LGBT+ young person’s trust||Phone: 0300 800 5428
WhatsApp: 07550 124 393
|the Proud Trust||Phone: 0161 660 3347|
|MindOut||You can contact them via their LiveChat on their website. They offer specific sessions, too, including People of Colour, Housing, Trans and Non-Binary, Domestic Abuse|
|Samaritans||Phone: 116 123 (24-hour support)|
|Switchboard||Phone: 0300 330 0630|
|Shout||Text ‘Shout’ to 85258|
‘Equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts and minds of the community, where it really counts.’ — Barbara Gittings