How to Show Pride Year-round

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June has been a month of excitement and celebration for the LGBT community for more than 40 years. What began as a remembrance of the Stonewall Riots turned into an annual demonstration of Pride, which has turned into a holiday of sorts; the one time of year we take to the streets to say “I’m here, I’m queer, get used to it.” 

After the events in Orlando over the weekend, it’s clearer now than ever our Pride cannot exist for one weekend or just one month a year. While not everything we do in our lives is dedicated to being gay, there are things we can do to honor this part of ourselves and the community we are part of, including our history and the very reasons we fought to be proud in the first place.

Europride march, Lesbian & Gay Pride London 1 July 2006 UKvia Getty

Here are a few suggestions on how you can show your pride any day of the year.

Visit an LGBT Museum

We’re lucky enough to have GLBT History Museum in San Francisco. Located in the heart of the Castro, it is surrounded by plaques of famous LGBT figures on The Rainbow Honor Walk.

Country's First Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, And Transgender History Museum Opensvia Getty

In Los Angeles, the One Archives Gallery and Museum is perfectly placed in West Hollywood with regular exhibitions of queer historical art and events. 

Soon we’ll have a new National LGBT Museum in New York City (estimated 2019), but in the meantime, the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art celebrates our rich history and diverse community through works by queer artists. Currently on display: The 1970s: The Blossoming of a Queer Enlightenment.

The Stonewall National Museum & Archives lives in Ft. Lauderdale, “at the intersection of Florida’s LGBT communities.”

And Tuscon has had its own LGBTQ Museum since 1967.

Check out an LGBT Library

There are several fantastic archives of LGBT history in the U.S., including the June Mazer Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles, the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn, and the ONE Archives at the University of Southern California.

Gay Pride Parade  Photo by Barbara Alper/Getty Images

Chicago has both the Leather Archives & Museum and The National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, which has its home at the Center on Halsted. You can also spend a whole day inside the Gerber/Hart Library, dedicated to LGBT literature.

In Indiana, The Chris Gonzalez Library & Archives is an incredible resource.

In New York, The Archive At The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender Community Center has a sizable collection of photos, journals, letters and other pieces of gay history.

Philly’s The Barbara Gittings Gay/Lesbian Collection At The Independence Branch Library is a must for anyone interested in how integral Barbara and lesbian women were involved in the pre-Stonewall gay rights movement.

Minneapolis is home to The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection In Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual And Transgender Studies boasts “the largest Two Spirit Collection available,” among other treasures.

Houston has its own Gulf Coast Archive and Museum of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender History, Inc. 

If you can’t make it to any of these places, there are also some great online resources, like Chicago Gay History and OutHistory.org. You might even have some resources available to you through your own local library.

Visit LGBT Landmarks

Several major cities have walking and bus tours of LGBT sites, including San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Miami and Seattle, but there are also plenty of other landmarks you can check out on your own. Hull House in Chicago, for example, is both a national landmark and museum dedicated to the work of queer social worker Jane Addams. Bonus: It’s said to be haunted.

Hull House Museum director Lisa Lee poses with a portrait ofphoto by Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune/MCT

The Furies Collective in Washington, D.C. has just been added to the National Register of Historic Places. For three years, the building was home to lesbian writers and activists who lived and worked together and published their own lesbian/feminist monthly magazine.

The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project has several places worth visiting, including the homes of famous LGBTs like the offices of the Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis Offices. New York also has a monument of Gertrude Stein in Bryant Park.

But if you’re like me, you may have some specific interests; a facet of queer history that you are particularly interested in. I once created my own walking tour of literary lesbian homes and hangouts in Manhattan, which wasn’t that hard considering many of these places are now well-documented thanks to the internet. You can also easily track down the sites of former dyke bars or womyn’s spaces, just to stand where they once stood.

Gravesites are also a possibility if they aren’t too morbid for you. Plug in a famous LGBT person’s name and see if they are memorialized on findagrave.com

 Join (Or Start!) A Queer Book/Movie Club

The easiest way to have some pride in yourself and community history is to read a book or watch a film, but that can be so solitary. Get out and meet some others to talk about what you experienced, together. Check out your local LGBT Center, library, bookstores (especially feminist and women-owned ones!) and film festivals to see if they have a lesbian or queer-themed book or movie club. Meetup.com has a list of several cities with their own lesbian book clubs

And if they don’t, start one! Pick a date, invite your friends, tell them to invite their friends, and have everyone bring a snack, a bottle of wine and a book/movie choice for the first meeting. It’ll serve as a mixer and a great way to learn everyone’s tastes. Then secret ballot vote on the first choice and from then on, everyone else will get their turn.

 Celebrate Herstory

Follow the Herstory Instagram account. Wear herstoric messaging on your chest. Share your pride in your identity and community, especially the queer women who have paved the way for us to be able to be out and proud. They are most often ignored and marginalized, and deserve more credit. Some of them include: The Daughters of Bilitis, Jeanne CordovaIvy BottiniCarolyn Moble, the Lesbian Avengers, Sarah Schulman and Mabel Hampton. I promise their stories will inspire you.

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