Rainbows and reflection: 7 ways to celebrate and support Pride this month

12th May 2021
A blonde haired woman with a rainbow of face paint on her cheek holds a rainbow pride flag

Did you know that the first ever Pride march was held in 1970? By all accounts, there were a few thousand marchers at this pioneering New York parade – 51 years on and there are annual LGBTQ+ Pride events and parades across the globe, each attended in their millions!

Pride itself is usually celebrated in the UK throughout May and June, and is an opportunity for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) community and their allies to unite in their support. Last year, the 50th year of Pride was rather subdued due to the pandemic – the parades were cancelled, and other events were held virtually. This year, events look set to go ahead later in the summer – which is amazing news!

But it’s still important that we support and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community during the traditional Pride time. Here are seven ways that you can do so!

1. Reach out

Pride is about making all members of the LGBTQ+ feel heard. If you’re a member of the community, and you feel comfortable doing so, why not share your story?

For those who aren’t part of the community, check in with family and friends who are. Metro recently reported that people aged 18 and under who identify as LGBTQ+ are twice as likely to experience issues with their mental health – something as simple as sending them a supportive message could make all the difference!

Mental health charity Mind has some great suggestions on how you can be supportive to someone who is LGBTQ+, and may therefore be facing extra challenges.

A person in a black t-shirt holding a whiteboard with the writing "Hello my pronouns are" in rainbow colours

2. Go virtual!

2020 was marked by virtual events, and Pride was no different – with the LGBTQ+ community and supporters still coming together. The Global Pride 2020 live stream had a whopping 57 million viewers!

And, even though many 2021 events have moved back to August and September (more on that later!), there are plenty of virtual events to enjoy throughout May and June. Our Manchester-based students might be interested in the virtual Trafford Pride (17th-22nd May 2021), and there’s also an online Bradford Pride event on 5th June 2021.

3. Celebrate

Although Pride isn’t just about the parades, celebrating the community is a lovely way of showing support. At Sanctuary Students, our May Big Night In was Pride-themed – with colourful rainbow-cake-making kits and Pride-themed decorations to help you and your flatmates get into the spirit! Did you sign up? If so, don’t forget to post and tag your creations on social media using the hashtag #sanctudentsbignightin for the change to win £100 Amazon voucher!

A slice of rainbow cake on a white napkin

4. Reflect

As well as celebrating Pride, it’s also important to learn about the history behind it. Did you know that Pride is traditionally celebrated in June because it’s the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan in June 1969?

Educating ourselves is a brilliant way of paying tribute to those who have fought for the LGBTQ+ community throughout history. Here are some brilliant resources you can use:

Two hands cupping a paper heart coloured in the colours of the rainbow

5. Support

Another way of supporting Pride is donating to LGBTQ+ causes. Even on a student budget, any donation will make a huge difference to those in need. Bustle have created a helpful list of UK charities that support LGBTQ+ causes.

6.  Make a stand

Pride is about demonstrating for equal rights and continuing the push for liberation of the LGBTQ+ community. Look out for petitions and local causes you can make a difference to.

Rear view of somebody holding a placard whilst wearing a flag and a hat with the pride colours and the word "Equality"

7. Mark the next event in your diary!

The good news is that many of the 2021 parades and events haven’t been cancelled – they’ve simply moved to later in the summer. Here are some of the upcoming events in locations near our student communities:

Supporting equality, diversity and inclusion

Here at Sanctuary Students, we’re the springboard to start your new journey, the place where you’ll make new friends for life – and, most importantly, we’re More Than Just a Room. We think it’s really important to create equal opportunities for all our residents and employees and our 'Our Inclusion for All' strategy sets out how we will protect the rights of our staff and customers.

Our work to embed an inclusive environment for our customers and colleagues is based on an understanding that treating everyone fairly is not about treating everyone the same. It’s about appreciating that each person is an individual and understanding their needs. It's about working in a way that ensures everyone feels respected, valued, included and heard.

Sanctuary is dedicated to achieving sexual orientation and gender identity equality in the workplace. In order to assist in achieving these aims, Sanctuary is a member of the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme, a best practice employers’ forum.

Need extra support?

Pride is a wonderful event, but it can also be a confusing time, especially for people who aren’t out. It’s important to know when to ask for help. Don’t suffer in silence – talk it through with someone. Whether it’s a friend, family member, your GP or university tutor, sharing your feelings will help.

There are plenty of avenues of support you can turn to, including our Student Advice Line from our partners at Health Assured. At Sanctuary Students, your health is our priority and that’s why we offer professional support to help you with any problems you may face, from stress and depression to financial issues and coping. The phone line is open day and night, 365 days a year, and everything you discuss is kept confidential, so there’s nothing to worry about. Call the freephone number on 0800 030 5182 – we’re here as often as you need us, for as long as you like. Learn more about Sanctuary Students well-being services.

Mental health charity Mind also has a great list of organisations that support the LGBTQ+ community.