1. Volunteer with your local LGBT center
Most big cities have centers that focus on LGBT issues. For example the SMYRC in Portland has programming for both adults and youths; programming that includes shelter to LGBT at-risk youth— the young people in our community are the future and should be taken care of by their community. Pride isn’t all parades— sometimes it’s solidarity and helping to take care of our most vulnerable members. SMYRC helps community members prepare for jobs, get education, and functions as a community center that hosts game nights, shows, and fundraisers. Finding centers like this near you that are looking for volunteers is an amazing and meaningful way to show your pride in the everyday.
2. Wear quiet rainbows
This particular concept is inspired by my boss— she’s married and has kids but she’s also a professional, so it’s not always appropriate to be sporting rainbow wearables. Instead she rocks a rainbow watch band —it’s understated while letting the community know that she’s proud. Isn’t that what pride is all about? Being yourself and telling the world who you are.
3. Keep yourself warm but still be you
As a former resident of chilly Michigan, I get that it can be hard to be both warm and maintain an aesthetic or communicate a fashion message. In terms of showing your pride but not wanting to walk around with your coat unbuttoned to show off an awesome shirt I suggest a beanie. I can personally attest to these hats; they’re warm, well made, cover the whole spectrum of LGBT, and the woman who makes them is super accommodating about if you have any fit issues. She also makes scarves and headbands if that’s more your speed!
4. Wear the “straight” forward tank
If you’ll forgive the joke, a good shirt, one that’s comfy, is always a solid way to communicate your pride to the greater public. In the sea of the Internet it can be hard to find the best ones. Personally, I like messages that are simple and direct. Such as this tank. It does the job of both saying I’m gay while also acknowledging that I know what they’re thinking. I love an ensemble that tackles multiple jobs.
6. Get work appropriate
First, your orientation or gender are never innappropriate. You’re not inherently NSFW - but not every job is the place to rock the aforementioned tank tops. Some jobs have a dress code that doesn’t allow for much personality - which is when I’d suggest a good button to quietly show your pride. I wear a button laden lanyard at work and find that it’s a nice subtle way to be yourself. The amount of compliments I get on my pride buttons from customers is awesome - especially when it’s younger kids who are happy to not be alone.
6. Volunteer with HRC or the ACLU
We talked about volunteering at your local shelter but I know that not everybody has such awesome organizations locally or maybe you’d rather try to affect change at a higher level. The Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberty Union are the places to do that—both are fighting the good fights for the LGBT community in a legal way, and they can never get enough help. Donations are always welcome but so are boots on the ground and people willing to help. Both organizations have local offices in major cities which tends to be the easiest way to get started volunteering. The ACLU is, by nature, looking for volunteers with legal backgrounds. The HRC has plenty of different volunteering opportunities that include fundraising and lobbying on Capital Hill. The perfect spot for you is out there.
7. Answer the question before it needs to be asked
I love accessories—I’m a necklace kind of girl to be honest. I think they’re great statement pieces and what’s a better statement than your pronouns? None. There’s no better statement. Sometimes pronouns change though, right? You don’t want to have to get more jewelry every time, don’t worry, the people at SpaceRobotStudio have you covered. Their pronoun necklace has infinite possibilities and is super customizable. I urge even people whose pronouns don’t change to pick one up - the more of us who have one the more normalized they become. Help each other be brave!
8. Visit local gay establishments
If going out is your thing, it never hurts to be a patron at your local gay club. In fact, they usually employ LGBT people to work behind the bars and on the floor. These kind of places can be hard to find, they’re getting rarer as time goes on, but they’re worth it. By patronising these places we’re letting them know that they’re needed and loved, as well as keeping them in business. LGBT businesses become safe places filled with acceptance.These places can put you at ease, especially when flirting with someone of the same gender. If drinking isn’t your favorite activity (or you’re underage) there are cafes that operate pretty much the same way— just minus the alcohol! Somehow to coffee is always better when a cute gay girl in a beanie serves it to you, trust me.
9. Get informed and stand up for LGBT rights
Remember to support each other. Pride involves community, that’s what makes it. When you go out of your way to listen to LGBT artists, consume art made or written by LGBT creators, learn LGBT history, keeping updated on the latest LGBT rights movements, you are contributing to our collective pride. The Internet is a vast well of people and the possibilities are endless. Participation is fantastic, but we don’t all have the means to participate, but most of us can be informed. The more information you learn, the better you’ll be able to stand up not only for yourself, but for us all. It’s heartbreaking that we have to fight these kinds of battles, but it’s the reality so we should at least be as well informed as we can.
10. Be yourself!
Maybe this is the hardest thing to do but pride involves being proud of yourself. You’re amazing, and loved, and fantastic! It can be hard, in a world that isn’t always friendly to us LGBT folks, but we should be friendly to ourselves. Pride is about love, about solidarity, about fun, and freedom - it’s not just a parade in June. It’s a state of mind, something that has to be worked for and maintained - but you deserve it. Make some other LGBT friends and exist together, be loud and be comfortable, be unafraid, define your pride by the way you live. If that’s glitter that’s great, if that’s a button that’s also great. One version isn’t better than another. You deserve to be out and proud—however that might look for you!
featured image from Pixabay