Coming out of the closet is a terrifying thing for most of us — even with people you know will be supportive, let alone those who won’t. So, if you’re not out, know that it’s totally understandable, and try to be self-compassionate.
Pride Month can be hard, or at least not as fun, if you feel like you can’t totally celebrate it the way other people can. But try to not get too down: While celebrating Pride may look different for you, it’s still something you can take pleasure in! A therapist who’s worked with LGBTQIA+ clients shared some tips:
Continue being yourself
You don’t have to label yourself publicly to live your life authentically and respect who you are. “Coming out does not necessarily mean you are completely coming out to the world,” said Dr. Lee Phillips, a psychotherapist and certified sex and couples therapist. “You can identify as an LGBTQ person and be yourself.”
But what exactly does that look like? “You can still possess confidence, self-respect, and solidarity about your own sexual identity by still celebrating gay culture and history,” Dr. Phillips continued.
Wear what makes you feel good. Have crushes on people you have crushes on. Go to places that make you feel comfortable and are fun.
Attend a virtual Pride event
Did you know you can attend Pride parades from your bed? (I didn’t!) “If the individual does not feel comfortable attending a live Pride event, they can visit the Pride’s website of the city they live in and access stories and recaps from Pride festivities,” Dr. Phillips said. “If the person lives in a rural area of the U.S., they can select a Pride website from a chosen metropolitan city.”
Eventbrite also has a page with a bunch of Pride events that celebrate queer culture, and they all look interesting! This option is more pandemic-friendly, too.
“You do not have to attend a public event to have pride,” Dr. Phillips reminded.
Check out online support groups
You’re not the only person who’s wondering how to navigate Pride Month joyfully while not being out — even if it feels that way. Support groups can remind you of that and give you ideas on how to celebrate.
“Online support groups are also helpful for those who are curious about Pride and for maintaining confidentiality,” Dr. Phillips said. You can ask group members or leaders about how they celebrate Pride, or simply enjoy the company of fellow queer people.
To get you started: Q Chat Space is a place for teens, and Verywell Mind shared some options for transgender folks. Additionally, PFLAG has some great resources across the country, and you may find more at LGBTQIA+ centers near you, too!
Dive into LGBTQIA+ education, media, and culture
Learning more about queer culture and history is another way to feel proud about your identity. “I recommend seeking information on the internet and exploring various websites about sexual orientation and Pride,” Dr. Phillips said. He suggested the Human Rights Campaign and the Pride Foundation for resources.
You can also watch LGBTQIA+ movies and TV shows, as well as read books with queer characters. For example, “Heartstopper” is a TV series that was recently released to Netflix, and it has a wide range of LGBTQIA+ characters. Streaming platforms usually also have an LGBTQ+ section you can scroll through.
For tons of ideas, check out the following articles:
- 180 Favorite LGBTQ+ TV Shows
- 200 Best LGBTQ+ Movies of All Time
- 15 LGBTQIA+ Books That Aren’t About Coming Out
- The Ultimate LGBTQIA+ Pride Book List
And of course, here’s a shameless plug to read Women AdvaNCe’s Pride Month articles!
If this Pride Month hasn’t been what you wished it could be, we’re sending you love! Hopefully, some of these ideas can help your month feel a little more festive and help you feel a little more proud — you deserve it.
Women AdvaNCe compiled a list of Pride Month events happening this June! You can check it out here.
Ashley Broadwater is a recent graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, where she studied Public Relations in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media. She’s passionate about mental health, body positivity, relationships, Halloween, and Dad jokes.