6 Ways to Safely Celebrate Pride Month This Year, Both IRL and Online

published Jun 3, 2021
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Credit: Ben Haist

It’s always always important to honor the LGBTQ+ community, and Pride Month serves as an especially great opportunity to come together and celebrate. “Pride Month gives the country and the world space to look at the great contributions and strides of the LGBTQ+ community,” Gerald Garth, the board treasurer at LA Pride/Christopher Street West, tells Apartment Therapy. “We must continue to not only celebrate, but hold space and pay homage to those brave individuals who quite literally gave their lives for us all to be proud, as well as elevate those who are continuing the work — during the month of June and every day.”

Celebrating pride is about more than just a parade or a party. Carrie Davis, the Chief Community Officer for The Trevor Project, says it’s an ongoing, intersectional movement about justice and equality for all LGBTQ+ people. “Between the COVID-19 pandemic, a hostile political climate, and repeated images of racist and transphobic violence, this past year has been incredibly difficult for so many LGBTQ young people,” she explains. “As our community celebrates in old ways and new this year, we’re focused on those who can’t celebrate at all because they are isolated from supportive and inclusive communities that affirm who they are.”

While Pride Month is typically marked by a range of festivities, including marches, live performances, speeches, and dances, certain celebrations may look a little different this year. From virtual events to small outdoor get-together ideas and more, here’s how community leaders and event planners say you can safely celebrate Pride Month, both in-person and online.

Show up to a virtual event.

If you don’t feel safe attending a large public gathering during Pride Month, Garth says streaming a virtual event might be the next best thing. “Since the safety of the community has been and continues to be our number one priority, we’ll be hosting innovative virtual experiences in addition to in-person events throughout the month of June (and the year)” he explains. “This year we’ve partnered with TikTok to present Charli XCX and tons of great talent for our free virtual Thrive with Pride concert.”

Along with an array of virtual concerts and events, you can also attend a variety of internationally renowned Pride marches and parades this June from the comfort and convenience of your couch. For example, NYC Pride will be hosting their legendary Youth Pride event virtually in 2021, as well as their annual march, Pride Island dance party, and rally.

Do something outdoors.

Whether it’s a picnic in the park with your chosen family or an alfresco brunch on your patio, Adriana Henriquez, Lead Planner at inclusive party-planning firm Modern Rebel, says that throwing a small get-together someplace outside is just as affirming as attending a larger Pride Month event. “There’s no need to join a big crowd to celebrate,” she explains. “An intimate outdoor gathering can be every bit as fun and entertaining as a large event.” 

If you and your crew feel like moving the celebration to a different location, Henriquez recommends finding an outdoor event hosted by a local LGBTQ+ community center so you can safely celebrate Pride with fellow supporters. “From silent outdoor discos to street fairs, so many organizations are hosting outdoor events this year,” she explains. “You can allow yourself to celebrate without clustering indoors (or without masks) — we aren’t there yet!”

Educate yourself (and others).

Pride Month or not, Davis says  learning more about the basics of LGBTQ+ identity is an easy and effective way to honor and raise public awareness about the issues facing the community. “It can be exhausting for LGBTQ+ people to bear the burden of having to constantly explain themselves to others,” she explains. “By educating yourself and spreading awareness among your family, friends, and neighbors, you can help foster acceptance in your local community.”

Whether you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community or an ally looking to further educate yourself, Davis recommends setting time aside to research some of the ways you can support the LGBTQ+ people in your life. “The Trevor Project’s ‘Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth’ covers a wide range of topics and best practices on how to support transgender and nonbinary people, including the basics of gender, forms of address that show respect, common mistakes and what to do if you’ve made one,” she explains.  It’s important to make sure your work is intersectional, too: “‘Black and LGBTQ: Approaching Intersectional Conversations’ can help readers navigate tough conversations around the intersection of race and LGBTQ identities,” Davis notes.

Volunteer for a local LGBTQ+ organization.

If you want to publicly show your support for your local LGBTQ+ community but don’t feel safe attending an in-person Pride celebration in June, Jove Meyer, the owner and creative director of Jove Meyer Events, suggests donating your time at a future date. “There are so many LGBTQ+ organizations that could use the support of volunteers,” he explains. 

Interested in donating your time to the cause but not sure where to start? Organizations including The Trevor Project, Gays & Lesbians Living In a Transgender Society (G.L.I.T.S), and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) provide volunteer applications on their website, while online databases like Idealist.org and VolunteerMatch.org allow you to search for volunteer opportunities in your area by cause.

However, if you’re not a member of the LGBTQ+ community yourself, it’s worth making sure you’re doing everything you can to maintain a safe space. “It’s very important to actively listen and not be afraid to ask appropriate questions if you don’t know the answers,” Garth explains. “In order to show up as an effective ally, one must see the humanity in another first, and to do that, we must have not only safe spaces, but brave spaces — where one can step outside of their preconceptions or stereotypes to connect with folks in a tangible and relatable way.”

Support LGBTQ+-owned businesses.

Whether you’re planning a small, private Pride party or ordering delivery and streaming a parade from home, Meyer says being intentional about where you spend your money is another safe way to support the LGBTQ+ community. “Money is power and shopping from small, queer owned companies makes a positive impact,” Meyers says. 

If you’re looking for a LGBTQ+ business in your neighborhood, Yelp is a great place to start. In honor of Pride Month, the review website introduced a new feature that allows business owners to self-identify as LGBTQ-owned, making it super easy to mindfully direct your dollar to LGBTQ+-owned local restaurants and shops. “You can certainly still support your favorite LGBTQ+ businesses by ordering their takeout food, but without the need to crowd into a bar,” Henriquez explains. 

Write to your local legislators.

Again, Pride is more than a party: Historically, it’s rooted in resistance, and it’s as important as ever to show your support to the LGBTQ+ community by taking a stand against discrimination. “Right now, legislators in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Wisconsin, and several other states across the country are considering bills that specifically target transgender and nonbinary youth, from limiting their abilities to play school sports and use the bathroom to banning best-practice, gender-affirming medical care,” Davis says. “I urge you to research if your state lawmakers are considering any of these anti-trans bills, and if they are, to reach out via phone or email and voice your support for transgender and nonbinary youth.”

If you have a little extra time to spare, Davis says you can also send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, or submit an op-ed piece, to help raise public awareness about anti-trans legislation. “We need your help to defeat this avalanche of cruel and misguided bills,” she explains. “Nothing is more effective than personalized outreach.”