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Pride is more than just a parade; it's a celebration of self-love, diversity, and resilience. This time last year, many of the LGBTQ+ community were mourning the closure of their local Pride events due to safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. We thought to ourselves, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and tided ourselves over with thoughts of how much fun and joy would be present at Pride 2021. Unfortunately, the pandemic isn’t quite over yet, and most cities still find their major Pride events canceled or diminished this June.

At PrEP2Me, we are more than a healthcare provider; we are your partner in celebrating every shade of the rainbow.  Here are some quirky tips to help you show your Pride in fun and safe ways this year:

1. Engage With Your Community

Perhaps the most important part of Pride is also one of the most simple -- seeing and being around other people who share your experience as an LGBTQ individual. While crowds of the usual magnitude are impossible (not to mention unsafe) to gather in the confines of your kitchen, you don’t need to attend a major event to hang out with other gay people and have a Pride gathering of your own. 

Get some rainbow decor, costumes, healthy cooking, and culturally relevant media involved, and you can have a COVID-safe dance party with all the same benefits of spending time among your community. 

2. Get Tested, But Make It Fun

Have you ever heard of an STI testing party? Neither have we, but in the spirit of Pride, we think it’s a fabulous idea. While STI testing is mainly advertised as discreet, there’s another approach to destigmatizing the test you might like to try: doubling down loud and proud in true Pride fashion. If it’s been a while since you and your friend group have been tested, now is the time. 

There are plenty of ways to make a go of it, whether by scheduling an in-person group trip to the clinic or gathering to take your tests by mail. An additional benefit of the STI-testing-themed Pride party is that you’ve established a built-in system for checking in on each other, asking about results, supporting those who test positive, and staying accountable for future tests.

3. Enjoy Time With a Partner

There’s no better way to celebrate your sexuality and gender identity than by expressing it with a partner. Gay and trans sex with someone (or someone else) who understands you is a joyful, affirming experience, and you may even find that it puts you more in touch with the true reason for the season than a rainbow float sponsored by Bud Lite. Just remember to keep it safe -- use protection when you can, and if you’re not already on a daily regimen of PrEP, get started now, as taking PrEP every day can reduce your risk of HIV infection by 99%.

Celebrate Pride With Us

At PrEP2Me, we are dedicated to providing quality healthcare and resources for the LGBTQ+ community. We understand that this year's Pride celebration may look different, but that doesn't mean we can't celebrate with joy and well-being. These tips are just a few ways to honor the spirit of Pride while ensuring your safety and the safety of those around you. 

If you’re in Western Pennsylvania and you’re looking for a venue for your STI party—or just a place to receive LGBTQ-focused, culturally competent healthcare—check out Central Outreach Wellness Center's open hours. 

Ready to celebrate Pride with health and happiness? Connect with PrEP2Me today for your PrEP needs and join a community that cares. Celebrate who you are with pride and in health!

Frequently Asked Questions

FreWhy is it called Pride?

Pride is named in honor of the Stonewall riots in June 1969  when the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and others) community fought against police harassment, hate crimes, and discrimination, sparking the modern Gay Liberation Movement. 'Pride' represents self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and visibility, opposing shame and stigma. Following the Stonewall riots and the first pride marches, LGBT groups rapidly increased.

How did you celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month events in the early years?

In the early years of LGBTQ Pride parades, events were often smaller and more underground due to the continued discrimination and persecution faced by the community. The first gay pride day was held in the early 1970s, and it consisted of marches, protests, and gatherings to demand equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community. These events were often met with resistance and violence from law enforcement and anti-LGBTQ groups. Despite this opposition, these brave individuals continued to gather and raise their voices to support their community.

What is the purpose of the commemorative month of LGBTQ Pride?

LGBTQ Pride Month, also acknowledged as Christopher Street Liberation Day, commemorates the achievements, struggles, and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in history locally, nationally, and internationally. It reminds us to recognize and celebrate diversity, promote equality and acceptance, and continue fighting for human rights.

How can you support the gay community?

You can support Pride by participating in local events like the Pride parade, advocating for LGBTQ+ rights, educating others about the community, and supporting LGBTQ+ businesses. Donations to LGBTQ+ charities and organizations can also provide crucial support.