In honor of Pride Month, this June The Calli Institute wants to highlight some of its history, explore emotional effects, and offer ways to celebrate. Our hope is that by calling attention to the importance of wellness and the power of acceptance, education, and inclusion, we can encourage everyone to take pride in mental health.

A Tale of Pride

“Pride” (also “gay pride” or “LGBT pride”) became a popular term when bisexual and gay activists used it to describe LGBTQ+ rights celebrations in the aftermath of the Stonewall Riots. In June 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a renowned gay bar in New York City. Tired of being hassled by constant raids, members of New York’s gay community protested for days outside the club. This rebellion is what ultimately motivated the gay rights movement.

One year later, the first Pride celebrations and marches were held in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. We celebrate Pride in June to pay homage to the initial event that helped instigate awareness and change.

The rainbow flag, designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978, represents the cultural diversity and range of sexuality among the gay community.

Searching for Equity

While Pride is a celebration of self-expression, some members of the LGBTQ+ community struggle with identity and acceptance. Gay rights continue to be a topic of political debate, sometimes seeming to undermine the existence of those who identify as LGBTQ+.

And because gender identity and sexuality are important parts of who we are, those aspects of individuality are inherently linked to overall wellness. Feeling invisible, silenced, or unimportant creates a host of mental health issues, especially within the LGBTQ+ community.

According to Mental Health America, those who identify as LGBTQ+ have more frequent suicidal thoughts and are twice as likely as non-LGBTQ+ to have a mental health condition. Among LGBTQ+ youth, almost 75 percent experience anxiety, close to 60 percent reported depression symptoms, and almost half have considered suicide in the last year. In addition, four out of 10 transgender adults have attempted suicide.

Many struggle to “come out” for fear of rejection — by society or even by loved ones. Others might experience discrimination, bullying, or physical harm simply for being themselves. That fear, uncertainty, and exclusion is still very real and can create lasting trauma, perpetuating mental health struggles.

And that’s why Pride is celebrated — to help break down the barriers that inhibit the LGBTQ+ community from being open, being themselves, and being happy. Awareness, actualization, and expression are significant factors in how we see ourselves as well as to our overall wellness. Feeling confident to declare exactly who we are is a freedom that opens every portal to physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Simple Ways to Show Your Pride

So, what can you do during to show your Pride this June? Whether you’re a part of the LGBTQ+ community or simply want to show support, we have a few ideas.

Attend a Pride event. Break out your colorful attire and attend the 51st Annual Twin Cities Pride Festival from June 23-25 in Minneapolis. This three-day event offers family fun, games, a Rainbow Run, entertainment, and more.

Support LBGTQ+ culture and charities. From businesses to entertainment, show your support for local LGBTQ+ community, culture, and arts. Find places to shop, shows to see, or artists to follow and be a proponent for the community’s vibrance and message. Donate your time and volunteer with local LGBTQ+ youth organizations or nonprofits.

Be an ally or advocate. Talk to members of the LGBTQ+ community. Ask questions, learn, and make new friends. Find out about the struggles and triumphs. Celebrate victories and self-expression. Talk to others about your experiences and keep conversations going to help others also know more about Pride and the LGBTQ+ community.

Discover Your True Wellness

We hope this quick Pride overview gives you at least surface-level understanding of the struggle for inclusivity and the reason to celebrate all month long. For all of us, true wellness starts from within. That’s why it’s important to share in our similarities, celebrate our differences, and take pride in mental health. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, please reach out to the professional team at The Calli Institute. We see you, we hear you, and we’re here for you.

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