June is PRIDE MONTH — a celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and other sexual identity (LGBTQ+) communities around the world. Pride is about being proud of who you are no matter who you love. It’s a get-together of love and friendship, to show how far LGBTQ+ rights have come and raise awareness for work that still needs to be done.
And it’s coming to your Canvas city. Wherever that happens to be in the UK.
Want to get involved? Here’s how to celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ community this Pride Month and beyond.
1) LEARN ABOUT THE HISTORY OF PRIDE
You can celebrate and support Pride without swatting up on the history of the movement. But knowing why it exists helps you better understand and empathise with those who have fought for the LGBTQ+ community and cause.
Pride is traditionally celebrated in June because it’s the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, which took place on 28th June 1969, after police raided the Stonewall Inn — a gay club in New York City. The raid and the heavy-handedness of police officers sparked unrest, which led to violent clashes and served as the catalyst for the gay rights movement around the world.
At the same time, here in the UK, sexual acts between men had only been partially decriminalised two years earlier. Gay and bisexual men were still hugely discriminated against and forced to unionise, creating grassroots and community-based activist groups that eventually contributed to the emergence of Pride on these shores.
The LGBTQ+ story is one of struggle. But it’s also one of passion, love and inspiration. Here are some helpful resources to learn more:
2) BE AN ALLY
ONE IN FIVE LGBTQ+ people have experienced a hate crime because of their sexual orientation and/or gender or identity. That number rises to two in five for those who identify as trans.
Also, ALMOST HALF of LGBTQ+ people have experienced depression and three in five have experienced anxiety. This can lead to thoughts about taking their life.
Pride is all about inclusivity and allyship. It ensures LGBTQ+ people are heard. Your support can make all the difference.
If you’re a member of the community and feel comfortable talking about your experiences, consider sharing your story.
If you aren’t part of the community, show your solidarity by checking in with friends, family and fellow students who are. Send them a message, support causes they care about. Small gestures go a long way.
Check out these TIPS FROM MIND on how to support someone an LGBTQ+ person.
3) JOIN IN WITH PRIDE ACTIVITIES
Pride month is an opportunity to peacefully protest and raise political awareness of current issues. It’s also a month-long (more in some cases) celebration, with parties, community events, poetry readings, festivals, music and comedy gigs, public speaking, and educational events happening all over the UK.
And let us tell you, no community puts on an event quite like the LGBTQ+ community.
Hit the link for your Canvas city to see what’s happening near you:
4) DONATE OR VOLUNTEER
One of the easiest ways to support the LGBTQ+ community in fighting for equality and acceptance is to pledge money, time, energy, or your voice.
There are plenty of organisations dedicated to making life better for those in the LBGTQ+ community. All of which will welcome your support with open arms. Here are some national charities to check out:
There are also many local charities in need of help. If you’d prefer to support a cause closer to home, ask the LGBTQ+ society or student services team at your university about grassroots initiatives.
Before reaching out to a charity, do your research to see how they could best use your help. Some charities need financial support, others need physical help for events or gear. Whatever you can give will make a difference.
5) BECOME AN LGBTQ+ ADVOCATE
Parades are the undoubted star of Pride month. And you should absolutely join the crowds and party the day, night and weekend away when your local parade kicks off.
But Pride month also gives you the opportunity to hit the streets in a different way — with a placard, side-by-side with your LGBTQ+ friends.
In the same way donating to charities helps improve the lives of those in the LGBTQ+ community, so does campaigning for rights and inclusivity. If you believe in the cause, show your solidarity.
If you’d rather not join a march or protest, sending emails to those in power, signing petitions, or sharing links on social media to raise awareness are all powerful ways of raising awareness.
6) CELEBRATE LGBTQ+ ART & CULTURE
LGBTQ+ art is influential, inspirational, vibrant, provocative and persuasive. And we’re not just talking about David Bowie, Freddy Mercury and Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Although these artists are all of those things.
There are millions of established, up-and-coming, and grassroots LGBTQ+ artists making astonishing work. Whether that’s music, film, comedy, theatre, writing or art.
Spend some time this Pride month seeking it out. Watch an LGBTQ+ film, check out a queer art gallery, go see an LGBT+ themed show, read an LGBTQ+ author, listen to a new LGBTQ+ band or singer — buy their music.
Few things are better than discovering art for the first time and finding out there are others who share your love for it.
7) WEAR YOUR PRIDE
Pride, particularly parade day, is an explosion of colour. Embrace it. Whether that means donning something subtle like a pin badge or t-shirt, or going all in on the rainbow colours. Wear your Pride in whatever way it suits you.
Not only is it a show of solidarity and pride, rainbow colours are a damn fine look.
If you’re buying something especially for Pride, consider supporting LGBTQ+ business owners or charity-supporting collections. THE PRIDE SHOP and GAY PRIDE SHOP are two great options.
CELEBRATE PRIDE 2023 WITH CANVAS
For the whole of June, we’ll be hosting Pride-themed events. Each one is a chance to wear your rainbow colours and celebrate with us. Check-in with your Canvas team to find out what’s on and the dates for your diary.
Don't forget to tag us in your photos @canvas_studentuk!
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