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  • Celebrating Pride Month –All Year Long by Jamie Israel, LCSW

    LGBTQ+ Therapy

    As June draws to a close and Pride Month festivities peter out, you might be searching for ways to keep your Pride spirit alive throughout the rest of the year. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities! Whether you’re a member of the LQBTQIA+ community or you’re an ally/co-conspirator, take a look at these ideas for staying connected, involved, and engaged:

    1. Consume queer media

    There’s tons of content available! Check out books like Allison Bechdel’s award-winning graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, or podcast Las Culturistas with Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang, which was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award.

    2. VOTE!

    Given the staggering number of anti-LGBTQIA+ policies that are being drafted, it’s more important than ever to cast your ballot, and not just presidential elections! Make sure your voice is heard and your values are being reflected in our elected officials at every level of government.

    3. Volunteer your time

    Athens-Clarke County is especially rich in nonprofit agencies, but you can find opportunities to volunteer regardless of where you live. Choose a cause that’s close to your heart, such as the Feminist Women’s Health Center, an Atlanta-based reproductive justice nonprofit organization.

    4. Get involved in community groups

    Local community groups offer a wide range of opportunities for involvement. Check out Athens Pride & Queer Collective to participate in one of their many support groups, or refer to the spreadsheet of queer-affirming religious organizations listed on the Athens Area PFLAG website.

    5. Engage in self-reflection

    You might choose to explore your identity independently, like through a journaling practice, or perhaps you prefer to seek help from a therapist for added guidance and support. Either way, developing insight and examining the intersectionality of your own identities is deeply gratifying. Major bonus points for supporting your mental health and emotional wellbeing!

    6. Make a donation

    Being financially stable is a tremendous privilege, so leverage that power by showing support. If you are able to make a monetary contribution to an organization supporting LGBTQIA+ causes, know that a donation of any amount will have a deeply powerful impact.

    7. Vote with your dollar

    Maybe you’re not in a position to make a financial donation, but that doesn’t mean your dollar holds any less value. Think critically about where to spend your money and choose to support businesses that mirror your own beliefs, values, and priorities.

    8. Educate yourself

    What should you say in response when a loved one comes out to you? Who is Marsha P. Johnson and why is she relevant to Pride celebrations? How can trans men practice safe sex? The information is truly limitless. Remember, no one is ever done learning!

    9. Identify yourself as safe

    Being queer or questioning can be incredibly isolating, especially for youth. Take the time to brainstorm strategies for communicating safety and support – maybe it’s a rainbow pin on your backpack, including pronouns in your email signature, or using inclusive language in everyday conversations. \

    10. Be an outspoken advocate for deliberate and continuous change

    We’ve made incredible progress in creating a more equitable and affirming culture. The celebration of progress is much of what Pride Month entails, yeah? And yet, now is not the time to take your foot off the gas pedal. Be confident in speaking up when you notice an opportunity to continue pushing us forward. For example, practice assertive communication by informing your healthcare provider when their paperwork uses gendered language or correcting your friend when they inadvertently deadname a classmate. After all, it’s the culmination of all our efforts – large and small – that has helped to build a more colorful and welcoming world.