Learn more about the redesigned Pride Flag
June is Pride Month, which is celebrated by many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning, intersex, asexual, and Two-Spirit (LGBTQIA2-S) community members and allies around the world. Each year, we pay tribute to the 1969 Stonewall Riots, which many regard as a key tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement leading into modern LGBTQIA2-S rights movements.
In the early hours on June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Riots began in response to police harassment. In the years leading up to the uprising at Stonewall Inn, police harassment, raids, and arrests were common in bars and other spaces where LGBTQIA2-S people gathered. The Stonewall Riots lasted several days as community members protested and continued to clash with law enforcement.
To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the first Pride march (then named Christopher Street Liberation Day) was held on June 28, 1970. Over the next several years, more cities began to hold their own annual marches to promote LGBTQIA2-S visibility, liberation, and resistance. Now, Pride celebrations occur across the world throughout the month of June (though some cities, including Long Beach and San Diego, celebrate Pride at different times of the year). In response to the increased corporate/commercial presence at many Pride celebrations, independent Pride events have also been established in many cities.
Pride means different things to LGBTQIA2-S community members. For many, Pride represents political protest against unjust legislation and cultural stigma affecting the LGBTQIA2-S community. Pride is also a month to celebrate the diversity and livelihood of LGBTQIA2-S community members.
Pride also serves as a collective reminder of the importance of safety, visibility, and inclusion of LGBTQIA2-S communities. Because of the stresses associated with societal discrimination, hostility, rejection, and stigma toward diverse sexualities and genders, LGBTQIA2-S people face significant disparities in health outcomes and social determinants of health. Transgender+ and bisexual+ community members, in particular, are often marginalized within LGBTQIA2-S spaces and healthcare environments. BIPOC transgender women and gender nonconforming people are disproportionately targeted in acts of anti-transgender hate and violence.
Within LACDMH’s community and system of care, we can take steps to mitigate the harmful impacts of stigma and discrimination. We know that affirming a person’s authentic identities and lived experiences is itself a healthcare intervention. We invite you to commit to reducing mental health and social disparities for LGBTQIA2-S community members.
Here are some things you can do to celebrate Pride and/or increase your allyship to LGBTQIA2-S communities:
- Learn more about LGBTQIA2-S history and lived experiences, including the stories of community leaders like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy. Uplift the stories of LGBTQIA2-S community members around you – including your own, if you identify as part of the community and have mutually supportive and safe spaces to do so.
- Learn about the importance of pronouns. Add your pronouns to your email signature, display name on virtual platforms like MS Teams or Zoom, and business cards. If you are a direct service provider, practice introducing yourself with your pronouns, and ask all your clients which pronouns they use when meeting someone for the first time. This sends a powerful message that you acknowledge and respect diverse gender identities.
- Seek out further education about LGBTQIA2-S healthcare. There are resources within LACDMH and our broader L.A. County mental health community to help with this. The Wellbeing4LA Learning Center also has several resources to help you improve your practice with LGBTQIA2-S communities.
- Use a Pride-themed virtual backgrounds on MS Teams, Zoom, and other videoconferencing platforms.
- Recognize and challenge transphobic, biphobic, and homophobic bias and discrimination, including microaggressions in professional and personal environments.
Happy Pride from LACDMH!