June is Pride Month- a time when the LGBTQ+ community is front and center and celebrated. But Pride Month has its roots in protests and unrest. The gay rights movement began with the Stonewall Riots - a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community in reaction to a voilent police raid on June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. This powerful resistance to the anti-gay legal system marked as the beginning of the gay rights movement in the US.
Today, all of June and Pride Month is a time to celebrate gay, lesbian,Pride bisexual, transgender, queer, and asexual people, plus all other sexual orientations and genders. It reminds us that incredible good can come from difficult and uncertain times. When disenfranchised people come together, stand up for their beliefs and demand equality, powerful movements can - and do - follow.
This knowledge is so important for young people everywhere, especially ones that are treated differently because of orientation, race, religion or culture. Pride Month shows young people how the LGBTQ+ rallied against discrimination, demanded equality, and are now celebrated.
That being said, our country still has a long way to go until everyone is truly equal. This June and beyond, stand with the disenfranchised, those pushed to the fringes, those who are discriminated against. Be an Ally to LGBTQ+ people, and to everyone who deserves to be heard. LGBTQ+ people - like ALL people - deserve to be treated with tolerance, respect and dignity, no matter sexual orientation or identity.
Action Allies can Take:
- Report hate crimes. If you see something, say something. According to the FBI, nearly 1 in 5 hate crimes victims in 2019 were targeted because of bias against their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Speak up. Hold people accountable, even in more subtle situations. Think: when someone makes a joke that comes off as discriminatory or inappropriate. Experts say microaggressions – offensive and subtle slights, comments, or behaviors by someone who may not be aware they’re offensive – can have a negative impact on people’s mental and physical health
- Educate yourself. And don't depend on people from LGBTQ+ communities to fill you in.
- Learn and use correct and inclusive language. It’s important to use the right words and pronouns when referring to someone or describing their gender identity or sexual orientation. Never assume someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation. Ask if you’re unsure and if it’s appropriate.
Gender Pronouns Can Look Like, But Are Not Limited to:
- he/him/his (masculine pronouns)
- she/her/hers (feminine pronouns)
- they/them/theirs (neutral pronouns)
- ze/zir/zirs (neutral pronouns)
- ze/hir/hirs (neutral pronouns)
• Make schools safe for LGBTQ+ community. Start a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at your school. Establish a GSA the same way you would establish any other club. Look in your Student Handbook for the rules at your school. You will need permission from a school administrator, as well as finding a faculty adviser and writing a constitution. Learn more.
• Listen. Yes, it’s as easy as it sounds. Let your family, friends, peers, and neighbors know that you can provide a safe space for them to talk about what they're going through.
Let’s End the Hate and Change the Culture! #SeeMe
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