June is Pride Month! As a masters-level intern at a Plymouth, MN based sex therapy practice, I think that it is essential to center LGBTQ rights in my personal and professional life. At the core of my sex therapy practice is a belief that all people deserve bodily autonomy and the ability to express their sexuality in safe, respectful, and affirming environments. I believe it is essential that all people advocate for LGBTQ liberation because everyone deserves the right to have freedom over their bodies. In the words of the great civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer, “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
A good place to start is to learn more about the history of the Gay Rights Movement and Pride Month. Continue reading to learn about the Stonewall Riots, why Pride matters, where we are today, and how to celebrate.
Pride! A brief history.
Pride month is a commemoration of the Stonewall Riots that took place in June 1969. Stonewall Inn was a gay bar in Greenwich Village Manhattan, a place where LGBTQ individuals could express themselves and socialize without worry about public stigma. The Stonewall Inn became a New York institution, welcoming drag queens, homeless gay youth, and the LGBTQ community at large. However, engaging in “gay behavior,” such as kissing, holding hands, or dancing with someone of the same sex was still illegal at the time. Therefore, police would often harass and raid gay bars. On June 28th, 1969, Stonewall was raided by police who arrested patrons and took them into police vehicles. Customers and onlookers became increasingly upset about this act of police violence and started to fight back, starting a 6-day protest event and eventually forcing the police to retreat. The following year, on the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, activists wanted to build on that spirit of resistance and organized the first-ever Pride parade. The theme “Gay Pride” was selected as the antithesis of the shame that was so prevalent in the gay community at the time.
Three Reasons Why Pride Matters:
The Commercialization of Pride
It is also important to recognize the ways that corporations coopt the meaning of Pride and profit from “rainbow-washing.” Rainbow washing is the act of advertising gay Pride through rainbow colors in order to indicate solidarity with the LGBTQ community without providing pragmatic support to that community. There has been concern that Pride is abandoning its roots in protest and revolution and is instead becoming a party. While it is important to have spaces where LGBTQ folks feel safe and comfortable expressing themselves authentically, wearing rainbow colors, and spending time together, Pride is about more than just that. Pride is about creating radical change in our society. I would encourage each of you to think about the ways that you celebrate Pride, particularly those of you that identify as LGBTQ allies. Are you providing financial contributions to organizations that are actively fighting for LGBTQ rights and well-being? Are you engaging in the work of activists, particularly LGBTQ people of color? Or are you engaging in performative allyship by purchasing a rainbow item from a corporation that does not hold LGBTQ at the forefront of its business?
How and Where to Celebrate in the MN Twin Cities
Pride will take place June 23rd to June 25th at Loring Park in Minneapolis. The 51st annual Twin Cities Pride Festival will feature local BIPOC and LGBTQ+ vendors, food courts, a beer garden, and music stages. Learn more about upcoming events and how to get involved here: https://tcpride.org/festival/.
LGBTQ-Centered Therapy in Minnesota
At the Sexual Wellness Institute, our therapists are trained to facilitate LGBTQ-centered therapy and position topics of power, privilege, and difference at the forefront of our work. Whether you are seeking to explore your gender and sexual identity, cope with societal stigma and LGBTQ oppression, or looking for techniques to enhance your sexual satisfaction, we have therapists that are ready and able to help. Reach out today because you deserve a safe space to receive affirming care. Our couples and marriage therapists want to help you with sex therapy or marriage counseling here in Plymouth, or anywhere in the state with online therapy in Minnesota. Get started by following these simple steps:
Other Relationship & Mental Health Services in Minnesota
In addition to couples therapy & marriage counseling, our LGBT & polyamory friendly sex therapists provide a wide range of mental health services at our Plymouth, MN counseling office. Other services include sex therapy, EFT, evidence-based couples therapy, EMDR & sexual trauma therapy, as well as, teen therapy. In order to help serve the mental health needs of all those living in Minnesota, we also offer online counseling & sex therapy. We also provide a variety of helpful tips on our mental health blog. Please feel free to reach out with questions, or if you would like to schedule an appointment to begin working with a skilled therapist! Your love life can be amazing.
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