It’s Pride Month, y’all! That means rainbows are going to be all over our forecast throughout June. But this month is about much more than partying in the streets and dancing ’til dawn. Pride Month is also a time for us to reflect on the progress we’ve made for LGBT rights and look forward to where we still need to go as a community. If we’re gonna party, we have to make sure everyone has a reason to celebrate.
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All Month Long
Everywhere: Celebrate LGBT Pride!
Across the country, communities are hosting festivals, parades, and parties for Pride 2016. Most people know about the epic events in big cities like New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, but you might be surprised how many Pride celebrations are held in small towns and rural areas across the country.
Whether you’re in the heart of bustling metropolis or out in the quiet countryside, you can most likely find a pride celebration near you via the Gay Pride Calendar. Most of these events are in June, but some go on late into the summer and even early fall. So get yourself some rainbow schwag — and be sure recognize our trans, gender-nonconforming, asexual, intersex, and queer folks too. The rainbow is brightest when all the colors can be seen.
This week is kicking off June with rainbows in Glenview, IL, for an LGBT youth workshop. In Washington, D.C., there’s a look back at the “Lavender Scare” of the 1950s. And we’ve got an effort to bring black sunshine to Pasadena, CA, for Black Lives Matter leader Jasmine Richards.
Sunday, June 5
Washington, D.C.: Learn about the early fight for equality known as “The Lavender Scare.”
2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
555 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20001
The Newseum is hosting an informative event about one of the scariest times in American LGBT history: In 1953, President Eisenhower issued an order to ban all homosexuals from working for the federal government. Needless to say, the results were horrific.
This open discussion with filmmaker Josh Howard and author David K. Johnson will be moderated by Lou Chibbaro Jr. of the Washington Blade. They’ll be going in depth on this dark chapter in D.C.’s history and how it led to a push for LGBT equality well before Stonewall. To attend the event, you have to purchase tickets to the Newseum. Take a look through the prism of history to see how far we’ve come!
Monday, June 6
Jacksonville, FL: Get an overview of your rights at Jacksonville LGBT Non-Discrimination Protections: Past, Present, and Future.
6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
111 Riverside Avenue
Jacksonville, FL 32202
In spite of being a fast-growing city with a vibrant LGBT community, Jacksonville still lacks inclusive legal protections against discrimination. The Jacksonville Coalition for Equality is providing an overview of why these protections are needed and how you can help make them a reality. There will be an update on the campaign for LGBT equality in Jacksonville, and speakers including veterans and students will address how discrimination impacts the lives of queer folks. Registration is free, but space is limited, so sign up ASAP to guarantee your spot in the discussion of Jacksonville’s future for LGBT equality!
Tuesday, June 7
Pasadena, CA: Pack the courtroom to #FreeJasmine.
300 E. Walnut
Pasadena, CA 91101
Black Lives Matter leader Jasmine Richards was convicted by a California court on charges of taking someone from police custody by force — or, as California’s outdated law puts it, “felony lynching.” Because the conviction, which could land Richards in jail for up to four years, may be motivated by politics (California’s justice system has a habit of going after folks associated with Black Lives Matter) rather than evidence or justice, Black Lives Matter is asking that folks in Pasadena show up to pack the court for Jasmine during her sentencing hearing on Tuesday. A petition to overturn the conviction is also being circulated, and Black Lives Matter - Los Angeles has stated that it will be contributing money from its fundraising campaign to help cover Jasmine's legal defense (be sure to mention "Jasmine" in your comment if you donate).
Jasmine Richards is a leader in her community. In fact, she was leading a peace march for her community when police claim she forced a person out of their custody. Show up at the Pasadena Courthouse on Tuesday, sign and share the petition, and donate to the legal fund if you can.
Wednesday, June 8
Glenview, IL: Support LGBT youth who are Out in the Suburbs.
7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
1930 Glenview Road
Glenview, IL 60025
The organization Angles Pride Youth Leaders is hosting a workshop to help others be better allies to LGBT youth. Organized and led by teens, the group wants to help peers, allies, and concerned adults hone the skills needed to be part of that supportive network so many young queer folks need, no matter where they live. The workshop is free, but the group asks that you RSVP so they can plan accordingly.
Sunday, June 26
Dallas, Texas: Visit the dark side of the rainbow at the Fears for Queers LGBT Film Festival.
5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
231 West Jefferson Boulevard
Dallas, TX 75208
Every once in awhile, there's an event that fills me with serious envy for those who get to attend. Something that resonates deep in my soul. This time, it’s the Fears for Queers LGBT FIlm Festival. For the sixth year, DOA Blood Bath Entertainment is bringing a macabre collection of movies by LGBT filmmakers to give you some serious thrills and chills while celebrating Pride Month. From drag queen slashers to battles with demons, the festival promises a delightful selection of independent movies taking a stab at scaring the hell out of you. Tickets are only $10, and all proceeds will be going to the North Texas Gay and Lesbian Alliance youth program. So if you’re into horror movies and helping queer youth, this is a rare opportunity to kill two birds with one scream.
We certainly hope you enjoy all of the festivities this Pride Month while supporting the fight for LGBT equality right where you live and from sea to shining sea. We’ve come a long way over the years, but we still have a long road ahead of us. That’s why when we party, we should party with a purpose. And whether it’s bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you!