It’s June and the rainbows shine brightly across cities worldwide as members of the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies celebrate. Parades are held. Beautiful costumes are worn. Corporations change their logo to a rainbow motif. But what are we really celebrating?
Are we just happy LGBTQIA+ community exists and is flourishing? The answer to that is a resounding “YES” but there is more to it.
The origins of Pride Month
In the early hours of June 28, 1969, a police raid took place at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City.
At the time, police raids on establishments serving the LGBTQIA+ community were extremely common. Many laws at the time specifically targeted homosexuality and in many states, it was illegal to be “gay.”
In that vein, patrons of the Stonewall Inn tired of enduring constant harassment and discrimination, turned what would have been a “run of the mill” raid on their bar into a standoff that would last for six days, and spark a movement changing the way LGBTQIA+ persons were treated in the United States.
A turning point in history
The Stonewall Protests marked a turning point in the LGBTQIA+ rights movement leading to the formation of the Gay Liberation Front, one of the first organizations to advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights.
The protest also led to the very first Gay Pride Parade being held in Manhattan, on the one-year anniversary of Stonewall (1970). It took another 30 years (1999) for what we know as Pride Month to be federally recognized and instituted. The fight for equal rights across the United States is ongoing, but positivity continues to be widespread.
More than rainbows
At its core, Pride Month is a time to remember the trials the LGBTQIA+ community has endured and to celebrate the progress that has been made in achieving equal rights and recognition. It’s a time for the community and their allies to celebrate their identities, culture, and freedom, and to advocate for continued advancement in rights and acceptance.
Today, Pride Month is celebrated in a myriad of ways: from pride parades, festivals, and parties to educational events, workshops, activism, and the showcasing of art and culture.
How can allies celebrate?
Before you throw on the beautiful colors of the rainbow, the first thing you can do is investigate the history of the month. Self-education is always the best place to start!
Look into the history and experience of LGBTQIA+ persons in the USA – their struggles and triumphs. Learn terminology, understand the different flags, read up on current legislation that threatens the rights of LGBTQIA+ persons, and, of course, remember to ask people their pronouns. It can take practice, but hey… so do a lot of things!
After that, show up to celebrate with the LGBTQIA+ community by attending a parade, an educational event, visiting art shows where LGBTQIA+ artists and creators are showcased, or invest financially by identifying LGBTQIA+ business owners of all types! It could be a restaurant, bar, crafts, art, or a donation to charity, you name it – the options for investing financially in the LGBTQIA+ community are endless!
How to safely get to the parades and events
Now, let’s talk about how to get to Pride Month events. While celebrations are indeed joyous, they can also lead to congested streets and parking headaches. At Edenred, we encourage you to take the bus, train, subway, or any public transportation available in your area to and from events. Taking public transport or a carpool option is a way to save money, reduce stress, and contribute positively to accessibility of these celebrations.
Did you know that Edenred helps employees save money by taking public transportation to and from work? It’s why we exist, and we are really good at what we do.
Schedule a meeting with us today to learn more about commuter benefits and how we can help you and your employees commute to and from work safely and easily.