Across the world, June brings about a certain feeling of joy; summer has come, the air is warm, and the sun remains in the sky for far longer. For one community in particular, however, June represents even more than that: Pride. A period of freedom, love, and celebration, Pride Month exists to commemorate the accomplishments of the LGBTQ+ community and to disseminate the idea that Love is Love. The month includes parties, concerts, and memorials for the victims of the hate crimes and AIDS or HIVs. Pride concludes itself with huge parades throughout America, in metropolitan areas from New York City to San Francisco, this year (on June 24th) amounting to millions of queer people showing up to finally celebrate the identities that have been oppressed for so long.
On June 28th, 1969, the LGBTQ+ community stood up for themselves by rioting against raids that had occurred at the Stonewall Inn. This was essentially a tipping point, the beginning of strength and power for the community, the beginning of pride. Since, June has been considered “Pride Month” and continues to empower this marginalized group every single year, as protestors against it grow fewer, and the amount of attendees increase.
With the growing number of LGBTQ+ youth, Pride is becoming a safe haven for the newest generation. The tolerant Generation Zers have shown their overwhelming support for the LGBTQ+ community, and this is partly caused by the exposure that many teens have gotten to different sexualities and genders. Asexual, demisexual, nonbinary, pansexual, and aromantic are just some of the many terms that Generation Z has grown accustomed to hearing. According to a study from Vice, “only 48 percent of Gen Zs identify as exclusively heterosexual, compared to 65 percent of millennials aged 21 to 34.” In addition, “only 44 percent said they always bought clothes designed for their own gender, versus 54 percent of millennials.” Pride has always been about showing others that they can love who they want and be who they want to be, and Generation Z is clearly embodying this message.
With the changing demographics shown in these studies, Pride has only grown over the past few years. If these patterns keep continuing as they have, the LGBTQ+ community may not be a minority anymore. America has come a long way since the Stonewall Riots, the event that sparked Pride’s creation, but we still have a far longer way to go. The LGBTQ+ community is the most likely to be targeted in hate crimes, and many laws still allow for discrimination against them. This is why we must fight for those who do not have a voice. As the new voices of America, it is Generation Z’s duty to stand up and make our opinions heard.
What started as a group of people simply standing up for themselves, defending themselves against the homophobia that pervaded America, has become so much more. It has become a cause like no other, a celebration of intense joy, colors, and love that continues to empower people, young and old.