A First Timer’s Guide to Experiencing Pride Celebrations

Anyone, especially first-timers, with pre-existing mental health issues, might find pride events to be an ordeal, so a little extra planning ahead of time to prevent and reduce that stress is essential for those who are already easily overwhelmed by homophobia or transphobia.

First, develop a strategy for the Pride week ahead, and then party on!

Know Your Rights

Being LGBTQIA+ or an ally, celebrating Pride can also feel nerve wracking – set yourself up for success by ensuring you know your rights and how to best avoid trouble, Healthline counsels.

The celebratory nature of pride marches, parades and festivals is a reflection of the hard work that has gone into gaining full acceptance, recognition and legal protections for LGBTQ people. Depending on the context – country or city – pride events mark successes for one or more political goals, such as same-sex marriage, anti-discrimination laws, and recognition of gender identity and expression.

To perk yourself up, our experts encourage you to listen to an affirming podcast or read books by LGBTQIA+ authors. Show support around your home, school or Boys  Girls Club by adding rainbow lights.

Be Prepared

Just as is true for any large event, some may feel unsafe attending Pride parades, and fear reactions from family members or schedule conflicts that prevent them from attending large community events.

This might entail designing activities that allow students to participate in smaller, socially distanced Pride parades or even virtual events, adding rainbow frames to profile pictures on social media to show solidarity while sheltering in place, and organising meet and greets with campus alumni who identify as LGBTQ or allies to facilitate opportunities for students to share stories and experiences.

Finally, colleges can also utilise physical campus spaces and its social media accounts to repost LGBTQIA+-themed images to tell their constituents that they love, support, and respect the community.

Know Your Limits

For LGBTQIA+ people and their allies, Pride preparations this month should include a self-assessment of one’s limits of self-care. Many people wrongly assume that their limits are failings of moral fortitude or personal deficiency, when in reality they are all neutral facts about one’s current propertied condition in a specific place and time.

I think members of the LGBTQIA+ community do feel a lot of pressure to celebrate our identities at Pride in big ways,’ says Ramos. ‘It would be naïve to think that one week or weekend can negate all the other social and political stressors we encounter daily.’

Make sure to give your employees and coworkers the tools to wrap themselves in the rainbow ribbon during the season of Pride and even run a company-wide DEI and Culture survey during the season to see just how inclusionist you are.

Be Safe

Anger is another common emotional response for LGBTQIA+ people. Pride is often a flashpoint: Will there be someone attending holding a sign saying ‘Gays deserve hell’? What if you could avoid any anxiety or anger during Pride this year? With a few simple precautions.

This includes maintaining sobriety and staying away from drugs. Sulc also suggests you keep a ‘lifeline’ such as a helpline and/or the number of a trusted person close to hand in case you need it: call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), any time; or find a Boys & Girls Club near you that is committed to inclusion in the community, every day and all year round.

If you are concerned about overdoses at nightlife events during Pride, especially if you or those you are with are using drugs, bring naloxone (also known as Narcan), which can reverse an opioid overdose. Here you can learn more about where to get it and how to use it. At Pride events, consider bringing a water bottle with you.

Be Yourself

Ah, Pride Month! Oh yes, this June is another chance for you gay guys – lesbian gals, bisexual pals and trans and non-binary peeps – to get out there and celebrate how valid you all are in the world! (According to whom? Come on now!) Time to pat yourselves on the backs for all you have ‘achieved’ and all the members you have recruited to stand with you for those ‘equal rights’.

But it’s also a moment to acknowledge that it hasn’t always been this way. For years, many in the community lived a dual life, keeping their true identities often only shared with their closest kin and friends, while risking the possibility of jail time, beatings and, in the worst case scenarios, death.

You can counteract that by schooling your kids on the history of the LGBTQ community and the Stonewall uprising, by having them participate in Pride celebrations and by encouraging them to get involved with the It Gets Better Project so that they can see with their own eyes that being LGBTQIA+ is pretty awesome.

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