June marks the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in 1969. Ever since then, June has been recognized as Pride Month, a celebration of the members of the LGBT community. With the countless Pride events that take place during the month, like parades and festivals, it can be easy to get caught up in the sense of community among those who are out and proud. However, what many people don’t often think about are those that aren’t out to the people in their lives. If that’s you, know that Pride Month is for you as well, and that you have every right to celebrate the month, as well as yourself, just as much as those that are out.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Pride Month even if you’re not out. Most of these activities can be done on your own time and in the privacy and safety of your own home. After all, you deserve to acknowledge the month and all you are and the community you’re a part of even if other people in your life aren’t aware of it. Here are 10 ways to celebrate your LGBTQ+ identity even if it’s not public yet.
- Use your artistic skills to create something for Pride Month.
Whether you create paintings or drawings, write poetry or short stories, or even do your own makeup with the colors of the rainbow or colors of your Pride flag, there’s tons of ways to make something beautiful and meaningful using your artistic abilities.
I always make sure that I write something for Pride Month, since that is my preferred medium of art. If you don’t like creative writing, however, host of the What I Will Say podcast Cameron Gray tells Her Campus, “write in a journal about self-love and celebrating yourself.”
Louise Willingham, author of Not Quite Out, also tells Her Campus, “Making or treating yourself to a subtle Pride bracelet or badge can be a nice way to communicate who you are without inviting questions.” They gave examples of possible designs like your pride flag colors, or a generic slogan like ‘love is love’ or ‘equality.’ No matter what you decide to create, though, the most important part is that you enjoy it and that it’s something that makes you proud.
- Educate yourself on the LGBTQ+ community.
Whether it’s the history, the different sexualities and gender identities within the community, or famous LGBTQ+ celebrities, there’s an abundance of ways you can educate yourself on things you may not have known before. Similarly, there may be LGBTQ+ resource centers near you that you can utilize or go to to learn more about the community.
If you’re confused about your own sexuality or gender identity, educating yourself could allow you a little extra bit of clarity and self-acceptance during Pride Month. There are many different resources out there to utilize — GLAAD and Stonewall.org, for example, are wonderful places to look if you’re just starting out.
- Donate to LGBTQ+ organizations.
During Pride Month, it’s important to make yourself aware of how the community has become what it is and how far we’ve come. Much of that necessary work is done by many LGBTQ+ organizations. If you are able, it’s only fair that you donate and give back to them and all that they’ve done for the community.
Kristen Pizzo, a journalist and Top Writer in the LGBTQ+ category on Medium, recommends donating to Trans Lifeline and The Trevor Project. Trans Lifeline is a hotline and non-profit organization that offers direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis. The Trevor Project is the largest non-profit suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ+ youth. If you’re short on money, know that there are multiple ways to give back to the community and the many different organizations, like signing up for volunteer work. You can also spread the message on social media and encourage your followers to do so — even if you’re not out and are, in their view, doing so as an ally. Remember that donating money isn’t necessary, but it will help support those organizations that have done so much for the community.
If you want more privacy in your donations, too, Adam Blum, the founder and director of the Gay Therapy Center in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco tells Her Campus, “You can ask the organization to keep your gift anonymous or restrict your communication with them to your password-protected email account.”
- Buy from LGBTQ+-owned brands.
Even though every Pride Month, major corporations will plaster their products in rainbow packing, it’s important to buy directly from LGBTQ+-owned brands. By buying from these brands, you’ll be able to give back to amazing organizations and workers that are part of and genuinely care about the community, thus avoiding feeding into rainbow capitalism. Most of the time, too, proceeds of these brands will go back to other companies that support the LGBTQ+ community.
If you want to donate to different organizations while buying cute apparel and accessories, this is a good way to do so! If you want to support indie sellers, you can check out Etsy as well. There are plenty of LGBTQ+-owned shops there that have cute accessories, clothes, and flags. No matter what you tend to gravitate towards when shopping, you’re bound to find something that will appeal to you and will support those that are fellow members of the community.
- Attend virtual Pride events.
The shift toward remote event planning during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed many companies to think outside of the box and plan for events to happen virtually, something that has continued into 2022. By attending virtual Pride events, you can celebrate yourself and the community in private without having to worry about running into people you may know and possibly outing yourself.
There are plenty of options for Pride events you can attend virtually, no matter what your interests may be. For example, last year, I attended Pride Book Fest, which was a virtual festival dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ+ books. Some other ideas of virtual pride events you can attend are Pride bingo, Pride trivia, Pride poetry readings, or group virtual movie showings.
- Watch LGBTQ+ TV shows and movies.
Thanks to all the different streaming services, there’s an abundance of LGBTQ+ content you can watch, whether you prefer TV shows or movies. LGBTQ+ representation in media still has a long way to go, to say the least, but luckily, there are plenty of recommendations out there for you to watch.
If you’re looking for what to add to your watchlist, Pizzo recommends The Half of It on Netflix, Crush on Hulu, Michells vs, the Machines on Netflix, and But I’m a Cheerleader. Willingham adds, “Love, Simon, which was the first openly queer film I saw. I also adore Single All the Way, which is a Christmas rom-com.” Gray also expressed her love for Heartstopper, calling it “a really lovely age appropriate gay love story for younger people.” Along with Heartstopper, she says “You can’t go wrong with Wynonna Earp for more TV.”
The Prom, Teenage Bounty Hunters, Young Royals, Love Classified, and Elise & Marcela, which details the true story of Spain’s first legal same-sex marriage, are also great options.
- Read LGBTQ+ books.
If TV shows and movies don’t appeal to you or you love to read as well as watch TV, there are plenty of wonderful LGBTQ+ books out there for you to read, both written by LGBTQ+ authors and featuring LGBTQ+ characters.
“Books are where I consume most of my queer media,” Willingham says. Some of their recommendations are Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales, You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson, The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta, Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, and Some Girls Do by Jennifer Dugan. “All of these feature queer characters and all of them have been important to my understanding of myself,” they say.
As for my favorite LGBTQ+ books, I love Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen, Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling, They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
- Listen to LGBTQ+ music and podcasts.
Now, if you tend to have your headphones on 24/7, you can indulge yourself by listening to LGBTQ+ singers and podcasts. If you want some sort of celebration, you can make yourself a Pride music playlist and have a dance party to embrace Pride Month without actually going to a parade or party where these songs might be played.
Nina Nguyen, a Berlin-based sex educator and LGBTQ+ expert feminist and speaker, tells Her Campus, “Gay and lesbian music artists helped me get through a lot of confusion growing up. They were successful and amazing, which meant that I could be too.”
Willingham says that some of their favorite LGBTQ+ artists are Vanitas, Miley Cyrus, Panic! at the Disco, Halsey, and Demi Lovato. Gray also recommends Lauren Jauregui, Fletcher, Lil Nas X and Megan Thee Stallion. Personally, I love Troye Sivan, Girl in Red, King Princess, Phoebe Bridgers, Clairo, and Hayley Kiyoko, the last of whom just released For the Girls, which I know I’m going to have on repeat all summer long!
If you also love to listen to podcasts, What I Will Say and But Is It Gay? can get you in a Pride Month mood. What I Will Say focuses on queer pop culture icons. But Is It Gay? reviews gay TV shows or shows that are speculated to have gay subtext. If you’re looking for more TV show recommendations, that’s the perfect podcast to check out! And while Scrubbing In isn’t necessarily a gay podcast, one of the hosts, Becca Tilley, recently came out about her relationship with Hayley Kiyoko (or as she’s known, Lesbian Jesus) and all the important details of their private four-year romance.
- Reach out to other LGBTQ+ people on social media.
The wonderful thing about social media is that you can reach out to people that are part of the community, even if you’re not out yet. You can create a social media account on Twitter or Instagram, but change your name so that you can communicate with people without having to worry about outing yourself.
Gina*, 17, tells Her Campus, “Twitter was the first place I felt accepted. I’m not out to my family and only a few friends know and it’s scary but coming on Twitter felt easy. It’s a place that’s accepting and just overall somewhere you can be yourself without fear. It helped me come to terms when I was in middle school and internalized homophobia and it was terrifying. Then coming on Twitter to be like, ‘Hey, I’m pansexual’ and have people be so accepting made it less scary. So Twitter being the first place to say I’m gay made it less scary to say out loud, to myself.”
If you don’t want to do that, though, Pizzo says, “Showing support for your openly queer friends on social media is another great option. Or just commenting something sweet and encouraging on a queer stranger’s TikTok or Reddit post! You might make someone’s day by hyping up their outfit.”
However, if those formats of social media are too much of a commitment for you, you can also reach out to others on anonymous servers or forms. While many people utilize Reddit as a popular anonymous form, Nguyen says, “So many organizations post their groups on social media, and they will never force you to show your identity.” For example, The Trevor Project has Trevor Space, where you can communicate with fellow LGBTQ+ youth.
Another option is to join a Discord server. Unlike other platforms, you need permission to join Discord servers, so it will be a little bit safer than an anonymous forum that anyone can get access to, and you’ll know everyone who’s in there has been vetted by the moderators. These servers can talk about anything from just everyday interests and activities between members of the community to more specifically helping others figuring out and offering information on their own identities. I’ve been a part of a Discord server where we had a Queermas party and played games while also getting to know each other. It allows you to befriend fellow LGBTQ+ people without having to worry about being seen by others in public.
- Wear the colors of your Pride flag.
If you’re not out, you may not feel comfortable buying your own Pride flag to hang in your room or dorm. Another option, though, is for you to wear the colors of your Pride flag in a more subtle way. Doing so allows you to celebrate your identity without having to worry about others around you getting suspicious. You can buy clothes in the colors of your Pride flag, whether that’s shoes, shirts, a dress, or anything else you’re comfortable in. For those that are a little more adventurous or like exploring with their hair colors, try dyeing your hair to match the flag or get hair clip-ins that are the same color and wear those for the month of June. Whatever you do, make sure that you feel confident and like your best self!
Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need to be out to celebrate Pride Month. You’re just as valid as those that are out, and you deserve to celebrate it just as much. Take the month — and the rest of the year — to celebrate yourself and your identity, how rich and wonderful the community is, and the people that are a part of it. Wherever you are in your life and on your journey, happy Pride Month!
*Name has been changed.