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Monday, June 7, 2021

How Pride Month Helps Me Feel Seen

I vividly remember my first Pride march. It was my first summer in New York, and I really did not know what to expect. Through friends, I had gathered together a group of fellow queer folks, and we decided to attend a full weekend of activities planned by the official NYC Pride. To this day, that weekend ranks as one of my favorite and most special weekends.

On the day of the Pride march, we left our rooftop brunch a little late, and sprinted to our selected viewing spot in the West Village. We got there just as Edith Windsor, Grand Marshall of that year’s march and plaintiff of the heroic case that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act just days before, passed by. We settled in amongst hundreds (of thousands) of other folks, ready to celebrate. I climbed up a street lamp and pulled out my bubble gun to send bubbles over the group; it wasn’t long before the crowd was chanting “Bubbles! Bubbles!” I was elated. I felt seen.

That weekend and the seven Pride Months since then, I have created or attended many events, activities, marches, and true protests, all validating me, and my fellow LGBTQIA+ friends and community members.

I’ve been very lucky in my life to be surrounded by an affirming family, friends, professional spaces, and one incredible church. But that moment on June 30, 2013, I felt a pride I had not yet felt, a giddiness and specialness in just being who I was, surrounded by countless others, putting their whole hearts on display.

Since then, I’ve continued to go to Pride events, though they have shifted slightly. The weekend, and the entire month, became overwhelming as suddenly so much attention is focused on LGBTQIA+ folks in recent years. It often feels insincere when companies and groups seem to capitalize on our community. At times, the NYC Pride March feels too parade-like, and performative, and yet, it fills me with such energy. There are other events throughout the month that can bring validation to queer folks like me, and I’ve found it super fulfilling to focus on organizations and spaces that uplift and center queer folks all year round.

I’ve given to many organizations over the years, and there are so many worthy of support. I find myself focused mostly on organizations providing direct and meaningful services and support to LGBTQIA+ folks, especially young ones. As we continue to fight for equal rights, -- and even safety and dignity -- giving to these organizations providing housing, guidance, visibility, history, care, and more feels essential to me. 

If you’re looking for any guidance on organizations to support, I’d suggest considering the services you’d like to support (legal, housing, advocacy, education, and more) and then give all year round.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of my favorite organizations:

For a longer list of great charities that are all 3- and 4-star organizations, check out our Pride Month Hot Topic.

Written by Grace Dowd, Major Gifts Officer at Charity Navigator.

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