The LGBT community has a rich history and visible modern traditions like Pride parades around the country, but if you are looking to mix things up this year, there are some unconventional ways to celebrate Pride month for the LGBT community and its allies.
Los Angeles recently hosted its Gay Pride Parade in West Hollywood, defiant and strong in the face of a weekend flush with tragedy. By the time the sun began to go down just a few miles east at the Silver Lake Trader Joe's, I saw a group of happily sunburned Pride revelers dressed in rainbow spandex and beads picking up some chips and guac to wind down their Sunday after an afternoon of love and solidarity. I smiled and silently wished that all people would love each other that much all the time as I tossed my own guacamole into the back seat. I am lucky enough to live in a city with a vibrant and outspoken LGBT community that is happy to be extremely inclusive with non-LGBT allies.
So, whether you are a part of the LGBT community or you are an ally, if you're looking for some other fun, educational, non-appropriative, and productive ways one can observe Pride month, like I was, here are some ideas.
1. Have an LGBT YouTube Marathon
Team Internet is an extremely inclusive community. If you're unsure which LGBT creators to check out, I recommend binge watching Kingsley, Riyadh K, Ingrid Nilsen, Connor Franta, and Hannah Hart — to name a few. There are lots more, but that's a really good start.
2. Call your congressperson and demand action on gun legislation
The brutal attack in Orlando has woken a lot of people up to the pressing need to do something to curb the epidemic of mass shootings in the United States. Rather than sit passively as yet another community was rocked by the loss of innocent life, senators from across the country spoke for 15 hours about the need for common sense gun legislation. Call your senator and your representative to talk about this issue, and be active in the fight against arming those dedicated to murdering in the name of senseless hate.
3. Reach out to an LGBT friend and tell them you love them
If you haven't done this, do it. Love matters. People need love.
4. Go to an LGBT museum
There isn't a single thing more productive that you can do for the future of the LGBT community than to educate yourself about its history.
5. If you're not LGBT, ask how you can be a better ally
This video is a great cheat sheet for how to be a better listener and, ultimately, a better ally, but ask your LGBT friends what matters most to them so you can effectively help fight for equality.
6. If you are LGBT, volunteer to be a mentor for LGBT youth
Being a teenager is hard. People are mean. Hormones are haywire. Help ease a little of the stress of an LGBT young person in your area, because you were in their shoes once, and you can give them advice on how to survive adolescence in your specific area — especially if you live in a conservative region without much of an LGBT community.