It’s June, and one of the indicators that summer is officially here is LGBTQIA+* Pride Month – a month in which to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual people. Part of that celebration means acknowledging the history that shaped and brought us to where we are today. Now is as good a time as any to speak up for queer and trans identities and visibility – as well as to bring to light current challenges to LGBTQ+ people’s rights such as the ongoing anti-trans legislation trends in many states.
Now is a good time to take stock of Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson and other BIPOC trans activists, often sex workers, who helped ignite the movement for queer liberation, but only recently have been recognized for their efforts. As the saying goes, “the first Pride was a riot.”
Whether you are new to Pride or you’ve been part of the tradition for a long time, there are many ways to observe and celebrate this month:
Learn more about queer and trans history - not just in recent years or even in the U.S., but across generations and cultures. Check out local history tours of Boston’s LGBTQ+ history, read or listen about queer and trans identities throughout time. A Queer History of the United States (book) and the podcasts History is Gay, Making Queer History, and Queer as Fact are just as few places to start.
Queer sober spaces matter too! If you find large parties with lots of alcohol and other substance use to be overwhelming or not your thing, there are plenty of sober options available in greater Boston (and virtually).
While Pride began as a grassroots movement, it has in recent years been taken over by a surge of “rainbow capitalism.” This month and throughout the year, if you want to support queer and trans people, please champion and buy from queer- and trans-owned businesses and vendors, support queer and trans artists and makers, etc.!
*the + symbol indicates everyone within the wider queer umbrella.
Jen Brown, LICSW is a licensed independent clinical social worker who has been in clinical practice since 2014. She received her MSW and Certificate in Urban Leadership in clinical social work from Simmons University School of Social Work. She has worked in outpatient mental health and integrative settings in community health centers, college mental health, and in affordable housing. Jen has experience working with depression and other mood disorders, anxiety, trauma/PTSD, substance use and addiction, ADHD, identity shifts/adjustment issues, chronic illness, body image concerns, and relationship issues.