June is Pride Month, which means there’s no better time to celebrate the LGBTQ community than right now. On Long Island, there’s an opportunity for something to do around every corner – if you know where to look.
To give a brief background on the history of Pride Month, June was chosen as Pride Month because of the Stonewall riots in June 1969. According to the United States Census Bureau, the riots, which occurred at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, started because of a raid by the police.
While the raiding of a gay bar was not new, the crowd that gathered outside the bar had grown unusually restless. As police were pushing patrons into the paddywagon, the crowd began to throw debris at them. Eventually, 400 people were rioting and would continue intermittently for five days afterward. This crucible birthed the modern LGBTQ movement, and without such an event LGBTQ rights would not be what they are today.
1) Visit local LGBTQ-owned businesses.
A great way to celebrate Pride Month is to support LGBTQ owned businesses. Whether local or national, supporting these businesses helps them grow and is one of the more effective ways to give to the LGBTQ community. Some examples of local LGBTQ owned businesses are Chaotic Cosmetics, a makeup brand, and Hitch, a Babylon-based boutique. Social media provides a great place to find local LGBTQ-owned businesses.
2) Go to your local Pride parade.
For those looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon, Pride parades are a great way to show support for the LGBTQ community. These parades can be found all over the island and the city, with multiple parades occurring all throughout the month. While Babylon’s and Huntington’s parades have already happened, New York City’s parade is happening on June 25 and is sure to be just as good of a time as the others. These parades are usually filled with vendors, and are great opportunities to visit other nearby local businesses.
3) Enjoy a Pride event at a bar.
If you’re of legal age to drink, bars are another great place to go out for Pride-related events. Many bars on the island have Pride events all this month, with some having already occurred. Bingo or karaoke hosted by drag queens are the prominent options and can be found, as always, on local social media pages.
4) Watch LGBTQ films, either at home or on the big screen.
Find a theater closest to you, chances are they’re showing an LGBTQ film. If you live in the Huntington area, a great example is the Cinema Arts Centre, which is showing “The Birdcage,” a comedy, and Hedwig and the “Angry Inch,” a musical. If a theater near you isn’t showing such films, then you can also watch an LGBTQ movie at home, either on a streaming service or DVD. Pride Month is the perfect opportunity to support LGBTQ films, whether they’re classics or new indie flicks.
5) Visit Fire Island.
It wouldn’t be a Pride list without mentioning Fire Island. A historic LGBTQ location, Fire Island and Cherry Grove are great places to make a day trip and visit. According to the National Park Service, Fire Island and Cherry Grove are historically havens for LGBTQ peoples, with Cherry Grove calling itself “America’s First Gay and Lesbian Town.” A plethora of events are being held all day every day, and can be found through the usual means. These events tend to be party-oriented, and are a great way to spend an evening, night or a whole weekend if you’re up for it.
With all these in mind, celebrating Pride Month has never been easier. Long Island is an important place in LGBTQ history, so it makes sense that there is so much to do. For more information about Long Island Pride initiatives, you can visit the website for the LGBT Network.