Celebrating pride month: A guide to becoming an ally15 min readReading Time: 9 minutes
Recommended for: Ages 13+
Younger readers should ask a parent or teacher to guide them through this article
Part 2 of this story is available. Click on the next page at the bottom of this article.
The chances are that this month you’ve seen more rainbows than usual. No, not in the sky but in almost every advertisement, all over the news and if you are on social media, then all across your feed.
So, what on this rolling massive ball of a planet does that even mean?
Well, that means this past month was pride month or the month that celebrates people that live and behave in diverse ways. Who does pride month celebrate and why does it occur every June?
Pause! Before we go any further, let’s get some definitions out of the way
Gender: This is a part of our identity – boy/girl, male/female – and it is not assigned at birth. Gender is more about how we feel than what we look like biologically. You could be born as someone who is assigned with the female sex as a woman but later on you could choose to express yourself as a boy or vice-versa.
You could also express yourself as neither male or female. People who choose to do this are referred to by the pronoun ‘they’, and are called gender non- binary. Lastly, people who have the same gender as their biological sex are known as cis-gender.
Homosexual: A homosexual person is someone who likes or loves someone who belongs to the same sex or gender as them.
Heterosexual: On the other hand, a heterosexual person is someone who likes or loves people of the opposite sex and gender.
Bisexual: A bisexual person likes and loves people belonging to any sex or gender.
Sexuality: Like Gender, sexuality is an expression of a part of a person’s identity. Just as you identify as someone who likes science or math, you also identify as someone who likes or loves certain people or people within certain groups. At this point, you could also not be sure what sexuality you identify with, and that’s okay as eventually, as you grow older, you will keep figuring out who you want to be.
People with identities that aren’t cis-gendered or heterosexual often call themselves queer. The queer community is made up of people belonging to a wide array of identities.
Why are queer people discriminated against?
We can express our sexuality through our thoughts and behaviours.
Behaviours that we use to reveal our sexuality have often been policed. Sometimes, that is for a good reason. For instance, if we want to spend time with or hang out with another person, we must make sure that they want to do that as well. If you really want to play basketball with your friend, you can’t just put a ball in their hand and force them into the court. You can only play basketball, if your friend wants to play as well. In the same way you can’t force someone to love or like you just because you feel that way about them.
On the other hand, sexuality is often over-policed. Behaviours and identities that don’t harm or force anything on anyone are discriminated against . They are often either unfairly banned or looked down upon.
This unfair policing stems from false beliefs and fears around these behaviours and identities.
Many interpretations of several religions once considered or still consider homosexuality a sin. Other than that, people have been falsely led to believe that some identities and sexualities are somehow unnatural. That means that they believe that it goes against healthy human nature. However, many argue that the very existence of such an identity should prove that there is, in fact, nothing unnatural about homosexuality.
The ABCs of Pride Month
Pride month celebrates people who belong to varied gender identities and sexualities. Particularly, those people who belong to identities that haven’t yet been accepted or once weren’t accepted by society.
The acronym, LGBTQIA+ sums up these many identities that make up the queer community. Let’s take a look at what this collection of letters stands for.
The L in LGBTQIA+ generally stands for lesbians. Lesbians are women who like or love other women.
G stands for Gay. The term gay generally refers to men who like or love other men.
Bisexual people take up the B in LGBTQIA+. Biseexual people can like or love both men and women.
T stands for trans. Trans people transcend the sex and gender boundaries that they were given at birth. Transgender people identify with a different gender from the biological sex that was assigned to them at birth. On the other hand, Transsexual people have different biological sex to the one that was assigned to them at birth.
Queerness is defined as a difference from the norm. It is something that would ordinarily be considered strange or unusual. Queer people don’t identify with widely imposed gender norms or identities. They could also be people who don’t know what their gender identity or sexuality is as yet.
I usually refers to Intersex people. Intersex people are born with biological characteristics that are neither identified as male nor female.
A generally refers to Asexual people among other identities. Asexual people are happy to be on their own. They cruise through life neither liking nor loving anyone regardless of whether they are male or female.
There are so many more expressions of identity that occupy the + in LGBTQIA+. Check out our further reading section at the bottom for more such terms.
Wow! that was a lot. Take a break and when you return remember to head to the next page to find out about the history of Pride Month and about what you can do to support the LGBTQIA+ community.