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Why is Pride important to the LBGTQ+ community?

Last Modified: July 10, 2024

Community, Healthy Mind


This post was written by Courtney Washington, PsyDParkview Behavioral Health Institute

While Pride Month is celebrated around the world in the month of June, we hold a local parade and festivities in July to accommodate the busy downtown Fort Wayne summer calendar. It’s common for people to wonder why Pride Month is so important to this community. Many believe it’s an excuse to dress in costumes and engage in party culture. While for some, Pride Month may elicit fear, anxiety or judgment, for those of us who are part of the community, these events have a very specific history and purpose. In these moments of meaningful connection, we feel visibility and that the community supports our existence.

If you want to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community, check out this post

The history of Pride

To better understand the importance of LGBTQ pride, we must first understand the history of oppression that has been perpetrated against this community. Pride is celebrated in June to commemorate the history of The Stonewall Uprising that occurred in 1969 in New York City.

As the LGBTQ+ community had experienced persistent targeting, violence and oppression, they had reached their tipping point and began to push back. This came at a time rife with social revolution, a time of the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, and the disability rights movement. During this period, maltreatment was commonplace against the LGBTQ+ community, particularly toward people of color.

The first march occurred on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots as a commemoration of the harmful events that occurred against this community. This is now largely accepted as the first gay pride parade. Now, roughly 105 pride events happen worldwide yearly.

Why is Pride important?

Although LGBTQ+ rights are human rights, unfortunately, oppression, violence and harmful legislation toward this group of people are still commonplace in the United States and across the globe. In America alone, there are 23 states with little or no protection for LGTBQ+ folx. Further, over the past few years, we have seen countless anti-LGBTQ+ pieces of legislation proposed at the state and national level.

Due to systemic oppression throughout the USA, LGBTQ+ youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their same-age peers, with more than 41% of these youth seriously considering suicide. For Black and Latino youth, these rates are higher. For adult LGBTQ+ people, the risk of suicide is three to six times greater than that of their same-age peers. LGBTQ+ adults are more likely to struggle with mental health problems like depression and anxiety and are at higher risk for substance use disorders.

These increases in difficulties are a direct byproduct of rejection and discrimination from the dominant culture. For many LGBTQ+ folx, the community is their family, as nearly half of people are estranged from at least one biological family member, with a third reporting they are not confident that they would be accepted by their family should they come out. This is why “mom and dad hugs” offered by strangers are such common occurrences at Pride events.

It is for these reasons (among others) that Pride Month is so important to many LGBTQ+ folx identities. It is an opportunity to express joy, love, connection and support to each other and to the community that has accepted them in the face of rejection from others. It’s a time to celebrate and be seen for the beautiful individuals they are—a time to feel safe and have their existence acknowledged.

Looking for help?

Parkview Behavioral Health Institute HelpLine is the centralized entry point for individuals who are seeking behavioral health services or are experiencing a crisis. Call the PBHI HelpLine at 260-471-9440 or toll-free at 800-284-8439, anytime, 24 hours a day. Our experienced specialists can answer your questions, provide recommendations and help arrange care.

The National 988 Suicide & Crisis Line can be accessed by calling or texting 988 or by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

If you’re struggling and need someone to talk to, RemedyLIVE has anonymous chat with their trained “SoulMedics” anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Just visit the RemedyLIVE home page and click the “Chat Now” button at the top of the page, or send a text to 494949.

Mental Health America (MHA), a community-based non-profit provider of mental health services, can help you identify concerns and recommend services. If you are in crisis, call 800-273-TALK.


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