Culture

7 ways to celebrate Pride Month in 2021

By Maya Khamala

It’s that time again: International Pride Month 2021 is upon us, and must be shown the love it deserves! As it happens, the theme this year is “The Fight Continues.” Like any quality theme,  it can be interpreted in numerous different ways: the ongoing fight here might be the one against Covid-19, the one against regressive laws targeting queer communities, or the more general fight for recognition, inclusion, and acceptance. Since all of the above struggles are inextricably linked, chances are “the fight” represents a different combination of factors and experiences for every participant.

Last year for Pride, instead of waving colorful flags of resistance and reclaiming the streets, people stayed home, unsure when they’d be able to assemble in large groups again. For older members of the LGBTQ community, the Covid situation triggered flashbacks of the terrifying early days of the AIDS epidemic—when the gay community was essentially left to fend for themselves while the government turned a blind eye. For those in the western world privileged enough to have vaccines accessible to them, the good news in 2021 is that vaccination rates are moving faster than predicted, with roughly half of Americans having received at least one dose. But, because this has all happened a little late for Pride event organizers who need lots of notice to plan festivities—and because there’s still some uncertainty about who can and can’t go out—you’re likely looking at a mix of in-person and online options this year, depending on your location.

So if you’re down for all that but aren’t quite sure how you should celebrate, or even what your options are, here’s a little inspiration for the taking:

1. Host a Pride movie night

There are so many great LGBTQ+ films out there, from life-changing educational documentaries to emotional dramas to sidesplitting comedies. If you feel like getting serious and settling in for an educational evening (or three), the powerful six-part docu-series Pride delves into Pride’s hard-won history by exploring the impact of the Stonewall riots and chronicling the LGBTQ civil rights movement in the US, from the 1950s to the present day. Check out the trailer here.

2. Attend a Pride parade or event

From San Francisco to Montreal to Singapore—and everywhere in between—there are many popular festivals and parades to attend throughout the month of June—and throughout the rest of the year too! To find a list of pride events in your city (be they in-person or online), check out this incredibly useful guide. Of course, there’s also the option of hosting a more intimate celebration for your friends via video chat or having a small-scale, Covid-safe, outdoor get-together (complete with costumes and glitter, of course).

3. Tune into the Institute of Contemporary Arts’ virtual First Fridays

I am sharing this in the spirit of highlighting one extra cool online event series. Held in partnership with #PrideExtended, this virtual festival is focused on supporting the wellbeing of Black transgender and non-binary people through fundraising events and activism through art. The lineup includes a series of film screenings, all by Black trans filmmakers. Throughout June, the ICA’s Instagram will showcase a different artist every week. The series ends July 2 with a virtual concert featuring Black trans and non-binary performances.

4. Support LGBTQ+ artists & writers

The LGBT+ art community is vibrant, to say the least. Why not support LGBTQ+ artists by purchasing art from a vendor on Etsy (or a local artist near you)? Or, if you’re looking for a good book to sink into, check out an LGBTQ+ reading list for quality suggestions. And if books aren't exactly in the budget right now, there are plenty of LGBTQ+ books available as e-books or audiobooks at most libraries.

5. Advocate for change

Make it your business to learn all you can about LGBTQ+ legislation at the local, regional, and national levels. If there are bills you feel you can support or fight against, research ways to get involved, whether that’s contacting a rep, signing a petition, or helping organize an event. You can keep tabs of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation here. You might also consider giving back through volunteer work, like supporting a local LGBTQ+ youth center or raising money for a charity, a foundation, or a grassroots organizing collective.

6. Teach your kids about the meaning of Pride

If you haven’t begun a discussion with your kids yet about the realities the LGBTQ+ community faces, what better time is there than Pride 2021? There are also plenty of children’s books on the topic these days, like My Two Moms and Me, or The Whispers. You can also check out TV shows with LGBTQ characters–the possibilities are endless, and at the end of the day, you’ll be glad you did it.

7. Practice radical self-love

Black feminist writer Audre Lorde once said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” In other words, the act of loving yourself can be a revolutionary act. Pride can stir up difficult emotions for some. It isn't a big ol’ celebration for everyone, and if this includes you, that’s ok! Love yourself—whether that means not celebrating Pride in any explicit sense, pampering yourself, talking to a therapist, or maybe even doing some trans-inclusive yoga!

No matter how you choose to celebrate Pride Month this year, let’s make it count, shall we? After all, there’ll never be another 2021, babe.

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