This June held a rather abbreviated Pride celebration, for good reason. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but it seems that every July 1, each and every single corporation with a social media presence pivots from an all-rainbows-all-the-time motif back to whatever they looked like on May 31. This seems to signal that Pride is officially over and that we should all go back to our heteropatriarchal cis-worshipping energy. Hard disagree.
But, while Pride month might be through, people like me are gay every day of the year (gay and Black, mind you, but more on properly honoring that identity here). My community could do with more support during other months. Furthermore, in a year where COVID-19 and the resulting quarantine moved us indoors for the time being, our usual outdoor Pride celebrations were pushed online or canceled altogether. That’s why this year, we need it to extend a hand to the LGBTQ+ community for more than standard 30 days this year — and every year, to be honest.
With that in mind here are six things you can do, beyond June, to help celebrate Pride all year long.
This is one of the most powerful ways to show support for the LGBTQ+ community. Lots of folx need donations and support at this time, including GLSEN, The Trevor Project, and Transgender Law Center. Other organizations, like The Okra Project, use donations to pay Black trans chefs to go into the homes of their Black trans siblings to cook them a healthy and delicious meal. Getting a home-cooked meal (and feeling that element of community) is especially crucial at a time where the rates of unemployment, homelessness, and poverty for Black trans folk are disproportionately high.
One thing you can do without opening your wallet is volunteering. There are small LGBTQ+ organizations that need help other than in June, like Latinx and Chicanx organization Mijente, or community health center Callen-Lorde.
Also, as a ex-Catholic, I never thought I would suggest something like this, but churches need your help too. For New Yorkers, the LGBTQ+ inclusive Avenue Church, for one, is vocal about their progressive stance on race and homosexuality. LGBTQ+ inclusive houses of worship are always in need of volunteers to help with programs ranging from AA meetings to soup kitchens.
To employers: List job openings in places that are visible to members of the LGBTQ+ community. For example, there's an organization started by Angelica Ross (of Pose and American Horror Story fame) called Transtech Social Enterprises that helps trans people learn to code — it lists open positions as well. And to non-employer allies, if you see a cool job opening posted anywhere, pass it on to your queer friends. Unemployment is high right now, and we’d appreciate the assist.
Read our stories
Looking at pictures of a crowded venue or packed restaurant these days has me clinging to the realization that we’re going to be inside for longer than we thought. Remember books though? Reading is a fantastic way to pass these strange times we live in, order and devour the scintillating memoir of a queer black man All Boys Aren’t Blue by journalist and activist George M. Johnson or The Pretty One, about bisexual #DisabledAndCute icon Keah Brown’s reckoning with her identity.
Learn about our identities through film
It’s cool that people that don’t identify as queer are watching Moonlight or Pose to celebrate Pride month. Watching a variety of films, however, both Hollywood-lauded or not, offers an array of perspectives from queer people living various experiences. We’ve survived decades of one-dimensional representation on mainstream TV, so learning about the different facets of queer identity is crucial.
I remember, in the early days of my gayhood, films like Paris is Burning exposed me to a community I have never entered — ballroom culture — and the film introduced me to queer and trans folk who experienced life in a completely different way than I have. I learned a lot.
With that in mind, there’s loads of material to start your Pride-all-year movie club: In addition to the stellar Netflix documentaries The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, Moving Parts, Circus of Books, there’s the recently released Disclosure — directed by trans icon Laverne Cox — about the perception of trans people in media. As a cis person, I must urge you to watch it. It’s truly enlightening.
Wear more rainbows
This one’s a little silly, but it speaks to what I am talking about. Every ally puts on that one piece of rainbow clothing in their closet for an Instagram post, takes it off, and puts it in their closet until another Pride month comes around. My suggestion to you, allies: Wear more rainbows, all year round. Express your support for us, all year round. From personal experience, I know that seeing someone wearing one makes me feel less alone.