On June 28th, we will be celebrating the 47th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a historical moment defined as a catalyst for the LGBT liberation movement in the United States. Each year, the Stonewall Riots are honored and celebrated through hundreds of Pride festivals and observances across the nation.
Though each Pride celebration is unique from one another, many people attend to learn how they can get involved and to celebrate with family members, friends, and co-workers. It is important to understand that most Pride festivals are open to all supporters of equality, whether they identify as LGBTQ or not. If you are attending as someone who does not identify within the spectrum or as someone who considers themself a supporter or ally of equality, it is important to do so in a respectful manner.
Without a doubt, supporters and allies are powerful individuals who are necessary in all movements geared toward achieving equality. But remember that Pride is not “your” day. Pride is an entire month dedicated to honoring our LGBT siblings, to remembering the Stonewall Riots. This day is about celebrating movement and change, about reflecting on the work that still continues. Remember that you are a guest in this space that you have been invited to by loved ones who appreciate your support. As a guest, it is your job to educate yourself and to understand the importance of this space. Pride is a safe space, and you have a role and you hold the privilege in protecting a space that has taken decades to create.
It is up to you to respectfully honor the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
And just as it is a supporter or an ally’s job to pass the microphone to make sure the voice of the oppressed is heard, it is just as important for that person to honor and respect what Pride means and why we celebrate the continuing movement in achieving equality. Just because you show up at a Pride festival does not mean you are a gold star advocate of LGBT equality. Attend to stand in solidarity, to acknowledge the privilege that you bring with you, and to promise to make important strides in creating change.
From one ally to the supporters of LGBT equality: When you go to Pride this year, volunteer, collect information, celebrate with your loved ones, but remember to be respectful and humble of why we are all gathered together on such an important day. I look forward to standing together with you at Pride festivals throughout Missouri.