The Month May Be Over, But Pride Never Ends

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The start of July marked the end of one of the most important months of the year for a lot of queer folks: Pride 2020. With the end of a month set aside to mark our celebration and our hope for the future, it can feel a little like slipping into gloom, but I would argue that the most important work for the LGBTQIIA+ community has only begun. Our community has been called to action, and it’s our job to answer that call with the type of energy only we hold – because just because June is over, it doesn't mean pride is.

Toni Reed Udggq3MlFirst of all, anyone who is in the LGBTQIIA+ community knows how pervasive our pride is. You can’t not be excited about your identity just because July came to steal the show! Pride is love, joy, excitement and so much more; that will never fade away. Our existence alone will always be a reminder of our pride, and everything we bring into the world. Don’t ever forget that!

Even though we celebrate our pride year-round, we still have some serious work to do. Violence against our community members is happening all the time, and some of the biggest victims are Black trans women, who are murdered at extremely high rates. We have to look out for each other, and that begins with demanding justice and safety for all LGBTQIIA+ people, especially our transgender and Black community members who are at risk.

Related: Recognizing the Forgotten Trans Women & Sex Workers Who Shaped Pride

Unfortunately, our community has a lot of internal work to do in order to be fully accepting and the safe space we want it to be. For instance, trans lives are still under heavy stigmatization in the LGBTQIIA+ community. Trans and gender non-conforming identities are often subjected to a lot of hate and ignorance, even from those inside our community. This should be widely condemned by all LGBTQIIA+ folks, and we should all focus on doing the internal reflection and work to make our community welcome to all people.

We also owe our unwavering and undying support to the Black Lives Matter movement. Systemic racism is an immense problem in America and we need to be there for our Black and People of Color LGBTQIIA+community members, but also for all the Black and POC people in this country. We will never forget that Pride was started with the Stonewall riots, which were led by Black and POC queer folk. We would not have a Pride month if it weren’t for BIPOC LGBTQIIA+individuals, so it’s our job – and our honor – to stand by them now, just as they did all those decades ago. 

So how do we continue Pride and put in the work on these important issues year round? It starts with examining our internal biases and admitting that they exist! There’s nothing wrong with being wrong, making mistakes or being uneducated on certain topics, as long as you grow from them! Recognizing that there’s work to be done within yourself is such an important step. Once you come to terms with that, then you begin the work of educating yourself and unlearning those biases. Read books, watch movies and follow different creators who are speaking up on these issues. Examine every aspect of your life and see what you can add to continue educating yourself.

Related: 8 Books to Help You Better Understand Black Lives Matter

Beyond that, organizing is an amazing way to fight for change. Look to your own community; I bet there are grassroots movements happening to make changes in your own hometown (and if not, start them yourself!).

Pride is a call to action to love and exist freely. It’s also a call to action to fight back against injustices in this country. 2020 has already been a long and tumultuous year, and I’m sure there will be more instances where we need to unite together in the future. It’s essential to never forget to be there for each other, protect each other, love each other, and work towards a brighter future for all. That is and will always be the true meaning of our pride.