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A Year- Round Rainbow

By Crystal Chainani

Pepperdine’s Crossroads GSA club posted on their Instagram page in July that even though Pride Month is over, the LGBTQ+ community still needs support during any month of the year.

Crossroads Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club is preparing for how they will honor Pride Month, which will take place in June.

However, members of the club want to emphasize that pride should be celebrated year-round and not just in the month of June. Pride Month is a time when people promote the self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or questioning), and other sexual identities people.

“Pride is something you have year-round,” said Hope Lockwood, senior English major with a double minor in art and great books, Life & Arts assistant for PGM, and Crossroads GSA co-president. “Just because it is not queer history month when June is over does not mean you stop supporting queer people.”

What is Pride Month?

Pride Month is typically in June dedicated to celebrating and commemorating those who identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or questioning), and other sexual identities.

It began in New York City in June of 1969 when the New York Police Department raided a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. This evoked LGBTQ+ patrons and residents to retaliate in the form of riots to confront the blatant homophobia demonstrated by the police.

June is the month that commemorates those who rebelled against the unjust systems of oppression to continue to fight for equality, acceptance, and safety for LGBTQ+ individuals.

“Pride Month is a time when the LGBTQ+ community really experiences a time of solidarity in a time of community,” said Steve Rouse, Ph.D., who holds a doctorate in Personality Research, is a Seaver College Psychology professor, and faculty adviser for Crossroads GSA.

Pride Month Being Honored Year-Round

Throughout the month of June, LGBTQ+ allyship skyrockets. However, come July 1, Pride decreases and donations to LGBTQ+ corporations come to a halt.

“June has kind of become the month that is very commercialized where you have Bank of America and United Airlines and all with their little booths out,” said Rouse, who identifies as a bisexual man. “But sometimes it feels as if they're just doing it to show support once a month just to kind of get some consumer positive feelings.”

“I feel like oftentimes we get in the mindset of like February is Black History Month, June is Gay Pride, and March is Women’s Month, " said Lockwood who identifies as bisexual. “Then we like do so much to raise awareness for like those groups during that time and then when it's over it is kind of forgotten about.”

For the queer community, however, their fight for justice, equality, and visibility does not end, and neither should their allyship.

Members of Crossroads GSA said that because Pride Month is in the summer when the main University sessions are not in occurrence, it is difficult to honor Pride at Pepperdine.

“We don’t really do a whole lot because it is during summer when we are all not really in school and a lot of us are out of state,” said Stella Engel, junior Theater Design and Product major with a minor in Art and English, and Crossroads GSA spiritual adviser. “Normally we just post on Instagram about it.”

For this reason, E-board Crossroads members make it a priority to spread Pride throughout the school year.

Engel says that Crossroads GSA curates several events throughout the school year that support LBTQ+ rights. As of now, the student-run club is preparing to host an event for Transgender Visibility Day in March.

Since Pride is about equal rights for people, those equal rights should not be stored away after July 1, only to be recognized a year later.

“Something I am fond of doing is posting that pride is not something that is just in June,” Lockwood said. “Pride is something you have year-round.”

Crossroad members emphasize that it is vital to uphold promises for change with action that impacts the LGBTQ+ community every day.

“Queer people don’t stop being queer once the month of June is over and we don’t stop needing support and allyship once the month is over either,” Engel said. “It is important to show support for the queer community for the whole year, not just in June.”

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