Get Ready to Celebrate LGBT Pride Month!

amnesty_activistsBy Emily McGranachan, Member of Amnesty International USA’s LGBT Human Rights Coordinating Group

It’s almost time to get out your boa, rainbow sunglasses, and camera, and download Amnesty International USA’s 2013 Pride Tool Kit for activists! Pride season will soon be upon us in June. Whether you prefer to celebrate at home with an informative documentary or by marching through the streets completely covered in body paint, it is an excellent opportunity to reflect on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) human rights. That’s the beauty of LGBT Pride Month. It is a time to celebrate who you are, ally or activist, homebody or exhibitionist.

Pride events are primarily a place where LGBT communities celebrate who they are and create positive visibility for a community that has suffered greatly under a cloak of invisibility. Some events feature over-the-top parade floats, drag costumes, dance, music and great festivities.

For those who have been to a large pride parade before, you will know that Amnesty International is no stranger to the controlled chaos and vibrant celebration that is Pride.  You also know that LGBT human rights are both promoted and violated around the world.

In the first few months of 2013, we have seen major progress in LGBT rights with the legalization of marriage equality in Uruguay, New Zealand, and France. In the United States the Supreme Court recently heard two cases related to marriage equality and Rhode Island became the 10th state to welcome marriage equality. While these and other demonstrations of progress and respect for human rights are cause for celebration, Pride events are also an excellent opportunity to take action and engage a different community of activists.

This year, Amnesty groups participating in local pride events can access the 2013 Pride Tool Kit for information and resources on LGBT human rights actions. Specific actions are around violence against LGBT activists in South Africa and contacting Congress to end bullying of LGBT youth.

In the months leading up to Pride, we urge you to reach out to local Pride event organizers to either march in the parade or to reserve a table at the festivities. The Amnesty LGBT Coordination Group is available for support and advice in navigating Pride events. To contact the group, email lgbtcogroup@amnesty.org, sign up for the monthly newsletter and action network, and follow AIUSA LGBT on Twitter and Facebook.

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