You Don't Need To Drink To Celebrate Pride

During LGBTQ Pride Month, there's no limit to the ways you can celebrate your identity and bond with your peers. But although a lot of Pride events are often accompanied by some adult beverages, it's more than possible to celebrate Pride Month without alcohol. As an LGBTQ person myself, I've gone to Pride events for years; as such, I'm well acquainted with how popular drinking culture can be at them, especially in spaces that haven't been designated as "family friendly." For people who choose to drink, this can be awesome! For people who aren't drinking, though, the experience has the potential to be isolating, if not downright triggering. Sometimes it can seem difficult to find good time or a community space where your sobriety doesn't feel threatened — but it's definitely doable, and it's just as fun.

The queer community has a long history of taking solace in gay bars and nightclubs, so you'll notice a lot of events, ranging from Bingo to Trivia to drag shows, take place in such spaces. So, what do you do if you want to celebrate Pride, but you don't want to do it in a bar or club? While there's nothing wrong with responsibly enjoying a drink, people might also choose not to drink for a variety of reasons; furthermore, no one ever needs to justify why they don't imbibe. Luckily, you have plenty of options at your fingertips. If you're avoiding the alcohol scene, you can still find camaraderie and community, especially if you're willing to get a little creative. Check out the suggestions below for some ideas on how to participate in Pride Month when you're sober:

1. Participate In The Parade

Marching in the parade not only doesn't require alcohol, but in fact may actually require not having alcohol, especially if you're participating through something like your place of employment or alumni organization. Personally, I've only ever watched the Parade go by, but I've heard that participating in it is even more fun than it looks. After all, you get to cover yourself in rainbow paint, hand out free condoms, and toss glitter all over people. What could be more fun than that?

2. Celebrate Queer Writers At A Reading

In my own personal experience, the literary community has largely been a welcoming environment for people from all walks of life, including sexual orientation and gender identity; however, it's definitely true that queer writers don't always get the same attention in mainstream media as their straight or cisgender counterparts. This is a big reason why supporting queer writers is so important — not only are you supporting a diverse writer personally, but you're also exposing yourself to literature that you might not otherwise find. If you then go on to recommend these texts to more people — LGBTQ or otherwise — that's even better. Check out your local libraries, bookstores, and college campuses for places writers often host readings and panels centered around literature.

3. Support Queer Artists At A Film Screening

Queer filmmakers often face the same structural and systemic struggles queer writers do when it comes to getting their work out into the mainstream. With this in mind, it can be especially cool to attending screenings that celebrate queer-identified artists, whether or not their work focuses on queer issues. Sometimes you can even meet the directors, screenwriters, or other people involved in the making of the films — and screenings also make for a super cultural first date, too, if you're looking to impress!

4. Hang Out With Some LGBTQ Youth

Hanging out with teenagers is probably not the first thing that pops into your mind when it comes to celebrating Pride Month, but hear me out. If you have a local Pride center or community center that makes space for queer-identified or questioning youth, it can make a huge impact to go and volunteer your time. Whether you're organizing field trips, taking on a mentorship role with a particular young person, or just chilling out with them at the center, you have the power to make a positive, life-long impact on people who might really need it.

5. Laugh Your Head Off At A Queer Comedy Show

OK, yes, comedy shows are often held in bars or spaces where drinking is the norm, so depending on your reasons for abstaining, you may want to do some extra research on the venue's policies when selecting a show. That said, attending a comedy show is a great way to celebrate during Pride Month, whether you're looking for a solo trip, a fun date, or something to get the whole group of friends together to laugh and unwind.

6. Find A Sober LGBTQ Meetup Group

This one might be a little obvious, but it's worth remembering: If your friends aren't into sober living, or you're just looking to meet new people with whom you can hangout without needing to think about alcohol at all, it's totally possible to find like-minded groups thanks to the wonders of the internet. You can use websites specific for meetups, like MeetUp, or social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram; anything goes. Just have fun!

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