President Obama has once again proclaimed June to be Pride Month, a celebration our of progress toward LGBTQ equality and a time to redouble our efforts for future change. So, here are six creative ways you can celebrate Pride Month while helping support the LGBTQ community as well as wider causes.
1. Write a Letter to a Friend
If you’re like me, you still get a thrill when through the post there comes a handwritten letter or postcard. There’s something about how personal it feels that, while of course purely an emotional thing, can mean a lot more than a quick email.
If you feel the same, why not take June’s Pride Month as an opportunity to write letters to your friends and family and, when you do, pop on a Harvey Milk stamp, a commemorative stamp that has just been launched by the postal service. At the very least, it’s a lovely excuse to connect or even reconnect with friends and family, and it may offer you an opportunity to start a dialog about other LGBTQ leaders and why equality is important.
2. Support LGBT Book Stores
Independent bookstores have taken a beating in the last ten years especially, with the financial crisis and the take-off of the online book market, creating a perfect storm of financial instability for brick and mortar stores. This has been felt across the board, but LGBTQ bookstores were hit particularly hard. Iconic names like Giovanni’s Room of Philadelphia are either going out of business or teetering on the edge — and this is a disaster. Never has there been a more important place for preserving easily accessible LGBTQ history or springboarding change than a bookstore. Also, LGBTQ fiction is still emerging, particularly gay YA and important trans and bisexual narratives.
So book-lovers unite and help support your LGBTQ bookstores by buying from them, attending their reading events if you can, spreading the word about them on social media, and helping to keep these vital places of culture open. Here’s a list of LGBTQ bookstores in the United States, and here’s an old but still viable list for LGBTQ bookstores worldwide.
3. Watch and Support a New LGBTQ Web Series
If you love to sink your molars into a good TV series and binge until your eyes just can’t focus anymore, you might want to support Pride Month by watching a new, innovative and even groundbreaking LGBTQ web series.
One I’m particularly excited about at the moment is Brothers, a web series about four trans men from Brooklyn, NY, which is being hotly tipped to be the next big hit. The creators are currently crowdfunding to ensure that they can keep making the series, and the buzz they are generating says this could be a series that will be with us for quite some time.
If you’re looking for other web series to take your fancy, OML is a great place to start your search.
4. Come Out for Sustainability
If you fall under the LGBTQ umbrella and are perhaps looking for something a little different to do this month, why not consider getting outdoors and following in the footsteps of Out for Sustainability, a nonprofit that hopes to mobilize the LGBTQ community to engage in environmental action and work toward a greener future. From showing you how to make the most of the green spaces in your neighborhood, to helping to organize a greener Pride event, there are plenty of ideas for how you can be visible in your wider community while benefiting the planet, effectively promoting two causes at once.
5. Get Fit for Equality
If sport stars like Michael Sam, Tom Daley and Brittney Griner have inspired you to want to get out, get fit and also do some good, there are plenty of ways for you to get healthy while supporting your favorite LGBT rights cause. The Human Rights Campaign runs an initiative called Athletes for Equality where you can find sporting events, like marathons, that you can participate in to raise funds. Find that list here. If you’re not much of a runner, consider choosing a lower impact sport like swimming or walking, and collecting money on behalf of your favorite LGBT charity — after all, every little bit really does help.
6. Call for Action on ENDA!
We’ve come a long way in the fight for LGBTQ equality, but there are still barriers to be broken and obstacles to be overcome. One is that, while there are some protections in place, there is currently no specific or comprehensive federal workplace protection law for LGBTQ people, meaning that it arguably remains legal to fire someone on the grounds of their LGBTQ identity in more than 20 states. That’s where the Employment Non Discrimination Act could change things.
In his proclamation for Pride Month, President Obama called on Congress to pass ENDA without delay. There is support enough in the Senate and it’s widely believed that there’s a shot at getting close to the number of needed votes in the House, but Speaker Boehner won’t bring the measure to the floor.
There’s also action we can take while we wait for an intransigent Congress. Precedent says that President Obama could issue an executive order that would essentially enact ENDA for all federal workers. That’s not a perfect solution, but it’s better than nothing at all. So far, Obama has refused to sign the order, and his reasons for doing so appear paper thin. You can find out more information about an ENDA executive order here and connect with groups who are working to urge the president into action here.
Photo credit: Thinkstock.
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