By Erin Hayes Photos by Bess Watts
Pride Month is more than a month celebrating our queerness. It’s also a time to celebrate self-love, community involvement, and being ourselves.
That’s why Pride is so important in the aftermath of tragedies like Orlando and the terrible reality of hate crimes. It reinforces that love and positivity are alive and well.
Unfortunately, prejudice and violence against the LGBTQ community won’t disappear during Pride. That’s why it’s important to make sure you and those around you prepare to stay safe while you’re “out” and about celebrating Pride Month.
Here are a few ways you can celebrate Pride Month while staying safe.
- Go out with friends. Whether you’re celebrating at the festival, picnic, or at Tilt, it’s a good idea to go out with friends. This is because there’s safety in numbers and because you’ll have someone to watch your back for you. What’s more, Pride is more fun when you’re surrounded by the people you love.
- Let people know where you’re going. Try to let two or three people know where you’re going and when they can expect you back. This is a good idea whether you’re going to a Pride event or out for a night on the town because it ensures someone will come looking for you if something were to happen or you were to get lost.
- Have an exit strategy. There’s a reason why buildings have ‘EXIT’ signs above their doors in neon red lights. When you’re at an event (be it outdoors or indoors) be sure to pinpoint where the exits are in case something happens or you feel uncomfortable and need to leave.
- Keep your phone on hand. It may be a common joke that we always have our eyes on our phones, but your phone is your primary source of communication. When you’re out at Pride, keep your phone on hand and charged to make sure you’re able to contact people or call 911 in the case of an emergency.
In light of recent hate crimes and the Orlando massacre, it’s important to keep ourselves and each other safe. Be sure to have each others’ backs this Pride Month. Remember, we’re as strong as our community.