Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month was established in 1969. That year, there were a series of violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid in Manhattan. These riots, known as the Stonewall Riots, took place on the morning of June 28, 2014, and since then, every June has been designated the month to honor the LGBT community.
Perhaps you’ve seen the gay pride, rainbow flag used in homosexual communities from time to time. Gay pride is the positive stand that communities have taken to break the discrimination against LGBT teens and adults. Pride is a way for a teen to promote self-affirmation in who they are and their sexual orientation despite the social judgment against homosexuality and other non-heterosexual sexual orientations.
In fact, the month of June can be a critical time for gay adolescents because rejection is a very real consequence for them. All across the country gay boys and girls are bullied to the point of violence. Eventually, some gay adolescents choose suicide. Coming out of the closet can be a long process of accepting oneself and feeling safe enough to be authentic in the company of others.
Gay pride month is a way to encourage this safety. It’s a means for the LGBT community to feel a sense of self-respect and self-appreciation in the face of the discrimination that continues to occur around the world.
Furthermore, gay pride might be a time for teens to find their courage to tell their parents, if they haven’t already done so. You can imagine the difficulty for teens who feel the need to tell their parents and the rest of their families. They want to come out and tell them who they are and at the same time they fear being rejected like they are at school and socially. Of course, often the challenge for parents is the belief that homosexuality is wrong. For some, homosexuality is a religious violation that means religious consequences, such as going to hell.
Gay pride could also be a time for parents to come to terms with homosexuality. Instead of chastising a teen, instead, they might learn more about the LGBT community. For instance, one parent took on the challenges of raising a gay teen with great fervor. She wanted to do anything she could to ease her son’s adolescent experience, a time when he is discovering his identity and finding his way into adulthood. The first step she took was educating herself, including learning what LGBT stands for. She began attending the LGBT annual parade with her son and joined a LGBT support group for parents. PFLAG – Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays – is one of the largest communities of support for the LGBT population, and they have local chapters where she could develop relationship with other LGBT parents. She even researched the local, state, and federal laws for homosexual individuals. To work through her religious and moral beliefs about homosexuality while staying by her son’s side, she began to attend therapy, a service provided by PFLAG.
Gay pride is a special time for LGBT adolescents to strengthen their sense of self and find the courage to walk through judgments at school, in social settings, and perhaps even at home. It’s a supportive time to be with friends, family, and peers who accept gay adolescents just the way they are.