The Triumph of Pride Month

This means Father’s Day, the Global Day of Parents (bet you didn’t know about that one, eh?), and of course, Pride Month.

LGBT Pride was established by activists in the 1960s, and the formal celebration itself was founded following a series of riots and other violent demonstrations originating at a mafia-owned gay bar in New York City in 1969 (yes, really). In response to a series of police raids that were seen as unfair and discriminatory, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in protest. They wanted equality, and after some tumultuous years the community has reached the level of visibility that would surely make the founders proud.

Gay Pride events have amassed millions of attendees in the years since, and serve as a safe place for self-expression and increased visibility of the gay community and its allies. The acronym continues to evolve, now most commonly seen as LGBTQ+ (standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, plus allies).

Pride has no real central authority. Though many local and national organizations spearhead parades and other public celebrations, the movement is largely “owned” by the attendees and supporters.

This has grown to include a huge subsection of social media and other internet havens. Many major companies update their US company logos to contain a rainbow flag during the month of June, the official colors of the movement.

There’s been a relatively dramatic increase in youths in America identify as gay, bi, or trans in the past several years. While approximately 5% of the adult population identifies as LGBT, almost 16% of Gen-Z and 9.1% of Millennials do. The reasons for this self-identification are numerous and potentially complex.

The reality is that there’s been a rise in inclusive content and a de-stigmatizing of sexuality in the past few decades that has dovetailed with the proliferation of the internet. Now, formerly voiceless young users are finding not only support, but entire communities online. No matter how niche the sexual or gender preference, there are places to share and discuss with like-minded people on the internet.

While Pride is a celebration of self-affirmation, it’s important to remember that growing up is a time where identity is potentially fragile. Without an environment to safely discuss feelings and express oneself, children are apt to turn to unregulated places online. Without solid footing and a way to ask questions, gay or straight, younger generations will turn their impressionable selves away from their role models at home and toward the places online that will fill the gaps in their knowledge in unpredictable ways.

How are your kids celebrating pride, if at all? What about their friends?

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