Earlier, I posted a bit of the history of Pride Month in the U.S., and as I mentioned there, I took up all my space talking about the history of the month, and didn’t leave room for all the fun things. So, in this post, I want to take a different direction, show some of the many ways the month is celebrated, people who have been prominent in bringing LGBTQ issues to the forefront, pictures, etc.
One of the things I found most fun takes place at the London Zoo. You might remember a post I wrote in October 2018 about Sphen and Magic, two same-sex penguins in Sydney, Australia, who were given a baby penguin to raise. Well, the London Zoo has its own celebrity couple, Ronnie and Reggie.To celebrate the pair and similar animal couples, last year the zoo gave a “Pride makeover” to its Zoo Night event on July 5. In addition to regular Zoo Night festivities, the zoo taught about gender, mating and same-sex animal pairings.
Like Sphen and Magic, Ronnie and Reggie adopted an egg that was abandoned by another couple, sharing parenting duties of their chick Kyton until he fledged the nest. Though their baby is now grown, Ronnie and Reggie are still going strong and are often found snuggling in their nest box. The zoo is home to 93 penguins total, and Ronnie and Reggie are not the only same-sex couple. 👍
How ‘bout a beer? The makers of Bud Light are very LGBTQ-friendly, and for two decades have partnered with GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). Last year, they did something pretty cool to honour the LGBTQ community. Take a look …Bud Light sold the rainbow-colored aluminum bottles in bars nationwide from May 27 to June 30 and donated to GLAAD $1 from each case sold. 👍
Across the pond, Prince William visited AKT (The Albert Kennedy Trust), an LGBTQ youth and homeless charity, during Pride Month. When asked how he’d feel if his children came out as LGBTQ, the Duke of Cambridge said it would be “obviously absolutely fine by me” and that he’d “support whatever decision they make.”
And, not to be outdone, his younger brother Harry, proud new papa, and his wife Meghan posted a collage of photos …… and finished with “We stand with you and support you 🌈 Because it’s very simple: love is love.”👍
This is Jiwandeep Kohli, a Sikh man from San Diego. Last June, he posted this picture on Twitter, and the response was overwhelming … it garnered nearly 152,000 likes, and was re-tweeted more than 21,000 times, including once by none other than President Obama!!! 👍
How about a few noteworthy wins for the LGBTQ community over the past year: South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg was praised for celebrating his presidential run with his husband; Taiwan legalized same-sex marriage; GLAAD’s annual Studio Responsibility Index found a 5.4 percent uptick in characters identified as LGBTQ in films from major studios; Vice’s Broadly created a free, gender-inclusive stock photo library; the US elected its first lesbian Native American ex-MMA fighter to Congress; a GLAAD report found a “record high percentage of LGBTQ characters on broadcast TV;” and Queer Eye was renewed for not one but TWO more seasons. 👍 👍 👍 👍 👍
CNN did a nice piece highlighting six LGBTQ activists: Billie Jean King, Harvey Milk, Marsha P. Johnson, Audre Lorde, Larry Kramer, and RuPaul Charles. Of these, I had only heard of the first two, but the piece is well worth a read, for these six people have been key players in the fight for LGBTQ rights. And on a personal note, if you have never seen the film Milk, starring Sean Penn, now is the time. I am not a fan of Mr. Penn, but I saw this movie several years ago, and … I promise you will love Harvey Milk, and you will need a box of tissues. At least check it out, and also the piece by CNN. 👍
Pride Month is not only celebrated in the U.S., but ‘round the world. Here are a few of the international celebrations …Zurich Pride Festival, Switzerland (June 14 -15): This Pride actually lasts two weeks, from June 1 to 16th, culminating in Switzerland’s largest city’s Pride Festival, a weekend of concerts, vendors, dance parties, and a parade. This year’s theme is Strength in Diversity.
Sao Paulo Pride Parade, Brazil (June 23): The first Sao Paulo Pride Parade took place in 1997 when 2,000 LGBTQ activists gathered to celebrate their culture and protest against discrimination. The event has since become the largest Pride Parade in the world, with 5 million attendants in 2017.
Cologne Pride Parade, Germany: Every year on the first weekend of July, Cologne holds a Christopher Street Day celebration, named for the New York neighborhood where the Pride movement began. The weekend features a street festival, political events, AIDS gala, and stage performances, culminating in a parade with over a million attendees and participants.
OutFest, Los Angeles: Every July, Los Angeles hosts one of the world’s largest LGBTQ film festivals, screening movies that share LGBTQ stories and highlight queer filmmakers. OutFest has recently placed the spotlight on underrepresented voices, featuring more directors that are women, trans, and people of color.
The Women’s Building in San Francisco has housed a variety of community organizations, including a food bank and a street youth group. It’s where a memorial service was held for Harvey Milk, the first openly gay member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, who was assassinated in 1978.
Canal Pride Festival, Amsterdam: Pride in the Dutch capital is as amazing as you’d expect from the home of the Red Light District and the first country to legalize gay marriage. Milkshake Festival, an outdoor dance festival dedicated to inclusivity and acceptance, kicks off the opening weekend of Canal Pride. As the week continues, there are street parties, a Drag Queen Olympics, and a unique Pride Parade that floats down the city’s canals.
There is much, much more I could write, but time and space are limited. Sadly, in this, the 21st century, LBGTQ people, like women, Latinos, African-Americans, Muslims and others are seeing an uptick in discrimination, in the bigotry that has no logical explanation. It’s been a long hard fight, progress was being made, and suddenly some element in our society decided that they are, somehow, superior. They are not. ‘Nuff said.
Sadly, due to the pandemic, most of the celebrations are on hold this year, but that doesn’t mean we should forget Pride Month. I hope that next year I will have many new celebrations to write about.
To all my friends who are part of the LGBTQ community … HUGE hugs and much love to you all!!!