Fighting anti-LBGTQ+ legislation and supporting queer creators are crucial parts of Pride.
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US-LGBTQ-PRIDE gay/trans flag
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June is Pride Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the abundance of the LGTBQ+ community. It's the season for looking at the artistic ingenuity of queer folks, learning about the histories of LGBTQ+ people across cultures and regions, listening to queer voices, and hearing queer stories. It's also, of course, time to put on your dancing shoes and sequins because the parties are always a good time. 

As the festivities roll on, however, it's important to remember the origins of this celebratory month. The historical arc of the holiday, like the community it represents, is fraught with societal tension. Famously, the first Pride was a multi-day riot at and around the Stonewall Inn fighting against police violence and discrimination. The legacy of that riot reverberates through Pride events to this day. We're both rejoicing in our community's richness and resilience while continuing to fight for our complete liberation. 

To an untrained eye, Pride Month itself—and the many ad campaigns promoting it—may seem like proof that all is well for the LGBTQ+ community in the United States. Unfortunately, the reality is a lot more complex than the cascade of corporate rainbows would have us believe. The legislative landscape, for one, is pretty grim, and anti-LGBTQ+ violence continues to plague the community, disproportionately affecting transgender women of color. A 2020 study from the UCLA School of Law showed that "LGBT individuals are nearly four times more likely than non-LGBT people to experience violent victimization." The Human Rights Campaign recorded at least 57 violent deaths of transgender individuals in 2021. All is not even close to well. 

With all that said, there are also plenty of reasons to rejoice. There's more exciting queer media out every day, there are fantastic organizations fighting to uplift LGBTQ+ Americans, and there are innovative queer-owned businesses to revel in. The queer community has a richness of culture and history we're only beginning to truly explore and enjoy. For those who want to support LGBTQ+ folks in June (and all year long) there are plenty of ways to do so. Here are just a few. 

Call your representatives.

The most critical way to support queer Americans is by ensuring we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This basic constitutional right is constantly under attack by lawmakers who seem to prefer that we just disappear. Beyond the laws that already exist to make the lives of LGBTQ+ folks painful or impossible across the United States, there are also dozens of proposed bills making their way through state legislatures that, if signed into law, would limit our access to life-saving healthcare, civil rights, and even simple recreational activities like team sports. According to Freedom for All Americans, a bipartisan group fighting discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, Tennessee leads the pack, with 31 active discriminatory bills. Iowa is next, with a whopping 19 bills. A smattering of other states (Oklahoma, Missouri, Arizona, Florida, and South Carolina) have bills that number in the teens as well. Only 11 states have no anti-LGBTQ+ laws proposed in this legislative session.

One Ohio bill, H.B. 454—or the Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act—would make standard health interventions for trans and non-binary youth, such as puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy, illegal. The bill makes some audaciously inaccurate claims, citing ambiguous "scientific studies" that supposedly show higher rates of suicidal ideation among teens who have received gender-affirming care. Several LGBTQ+ advocates, medical professionals, and studies contradict these claims. In fact, a 2021 study published by researchers at The Trevor Project—a national nonprofit focused on suicide prevention among LGBTQ+ youth—found that access to gender-affirming hormone therapy was associated with lower rates of depression, thoughts of suicide, and attempted suicide among transgender and non-binary young people ages 13 through 24.

Bills like H.B. 454 may claim to be concerned for the protection of children, but they can actually cause more harm, denying trans and non-binary youth life-saving treatment and the right to be who they truly are. Regrettably, this is only one bill among many dozens on their way to becoming law. If you want to support LGBTQ+ folks, the very best way to do so is to use this Legislation Tracker to find out what's happening in your state—and start making a really big fuss about it. Call your lawmakers, join protests, and volunteer with or set up a recurring donation to the organizations that are fighting these laws.

Enjoy some LGBTQ+ produced media.

Another great way to support LGBTQ+ people is to immerse yourself in our culture. Listen to tunes by queer musicians, take in a podcast or three, or watch a show or a movie that delves into the many layers of gay or transgender culture. Engaging with queer media supports the LGBTQ+ community in two ways. First, it shows those with the power to produce these media that there's a demand for queer stories, characters, music, and more. For LGBTQ+ artists, this means more support for their craft and more opportunities to continue their important work. Secondly, art that tells LGBTQ+ stories can inspire more compassion and understanding for those who aren't a part of the queer community, as well as provide more representation for those who are.

When I was a teen in the early aughts, the only gender-nonconforming character I saw on TV was Chandler's trans parent on Friends, who was basically there so other characters could crack transphobic jokes. As far as gay people went, there was Will from Will & Grace, but not many more notable role models. Thankfully, those days are gone. We now have a wealth of incredible queer media out there, just waiting for you to dive in. Recent years have seen an influx of queer narratives in TV and film, whether through revivals of old favorites like Queer Eye or brand-new series such as POSE, Euphoria, or Heartstopper. And that's just in the mainstream media; indie films and shows by up-and-coming queer artists are equally breathtaking. A non-exhaustive list of LGBTQ+ filmmakers, actors, and directors whose work you shouldn't miss include Sophia Nahli Allison, Isabel Sandoval, Jane Schoenbrun, and Matthew Fifer. Some of the many comedians you need to watch are Matteo Lane, Hannah Gadsby, Mae Martin, and Joel Kim Booster. If you want to dive into some LGBTQ+ history, films like Before Stonewall, Brother Outsider, The Celluloid Closet, and Paris is Burning are a good start.

If you're interested in hearing more LGBTQ+ voices, there are plenty of musicians and podcasters whose work is specific to their experience as queer folks. These artists are creating in every genre, from pop stars like Janelle Monáe, Demi Lovato and Hayley Kiyoko or hip-hop and R&B sensations like Big Freedia and Shea Diamond to rock-pop-grunge inspired King Princess and alternative-indie artists like serpentwithfeet and Dua Saleh. Some great podcasts are LGBTQ&A (speaking to notable members of the community about their lives and accomplishments), Gender Reveal (about "what the heck gender is"), Making Gay History (about the hidden history of the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement), and Masculine Birth Ritual (about the experiences of masculine-of-center people who give birth). 

Support queer-owned businesses and nonprofits.

Need some candles? Coffee beans? Jewelry? Some underwear or a cute T-shirt? Whatever it is you're shopping for, there's a queer-owned business that sells it. Sure, it might be easier to order something on Amazon, but putting more capital in the hands of LGBTQ+ business owners supports our well-being, our quality of life, and our ability to sustain ourselves, our children, and our communities. To find LGBTQ+ businesses to support, directories like We Are Gay Friendly, Gay Pages, and the Phluid Project (specifically for apparel) are very helpful. As we all know, money is power, and supporting the LGBTQ+ community can be as easy (and fun) as making a point to shop from queer-owned businesses. 

If you really want to make your dollars go far, you can also support groups dedicated to the health and rights of the community. If you feel drawn to larger-scale organizations, check out the work being done by groups like The Trevor Project and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation. If you want to support an organization with a more specific or local bent, there are plenty of those as well. Center Link is a hub that connects LGBTQ+ community centers nationwide, so look there to find a local community center to support. The Homeless Black Trans Women Fund provides 24/7 housing and financial support to Black trans women, the LGBTQ Freedom Fund is a bail fund specifically supporting the queer community, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project provides legal support to LGBTQ+ people nationwide, and SAGE provides advocacy and services for queer elders. Always consider setting up a monthly donation, if you can, as a smaller sum on a monthly basis provides yearlong support.

Hold corporations accountable.

Speaking of dollars, there are a lot of them flowing from our favorite corporations into the pockets of lawmakers who support harmful legislation—a shocking amount actually. Hand-in-hand with the effort to shop from queer-owned businesses is the process of divesting from duplicitous companies, the sort that is waving a rainbow flag with one hand and paying to pass a discriminatory bathroom bill with the other.

Data for Progress, a think tank using data science to fight for a more equitable future, found that Fortune 500 corporations have, collectively, given nearly $3 million to anti-queer politicians in the past decade. Of those companies, 30 also sponsored Pride events or celebrated Pride in some way in 2022. At the top of the list is Toyota, with a donation amount of $601,500. Much of those dollars went to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who ordered state officials to investigate child abuse claims against parents who provide healthcare to their transgender children. 

Toyota isn't alone by a long shot. AT&T is the runner-up, having given more than $300,000 to a long list of anti-queer politicians, and Comcast has given $121,350 to anti-LGBTQ+ politicians as well. According to news and analysis site Popular Information, CVS Health's corporate PAC has donated over $250,000 to "54 members of Congress who received a zero rating in HRC's Congressional scorecard for the 116th Congress." For a full list of corporations who are celebrating Pride online while funding discrimination against the queer community, the tracker designed by Data for Progress is a great resource. While it would be hard to boycott all of these corporations (I drive a Toyota and, alas, can't exactly afford to dump it because of this revelation), sharing this information helps us to make more mindful consumer choices. Coupled with a list of queer-friendly or queer-owned businesses, this information can help us vote with our dollars and show companies that we absolutely care who they support. It's not enough to put #LoveIsLove in one's bio—we need those in positions of power to show up for our safety in real ways. 

Wherever you are in the world, there are queer folks near you who need your support. We need allies, people who understand that we deserve the right to live full lives regardless of who we are and who we love. We need people to join us in speaking up against violence and bias, to rejoice in our accomplishments, to celebrate our wins, and mourn our losses. Together.