Pride Month, celebrated annually in June, holds significant importance for the LGBTQI+ community. This month-long celebration emerged as a commemoration of the Stonewall Riots in June 1969, a pivotal event in LGBTQI+ history. In recent years, the Pride celebration has extended from just a week to a whole month in Finland too. And it’s no surprise we see more LGBTQI+ events pop up during June; the popularity of Pride and interest in these types of events has been increasing steadily, and more and more people want to take part in support of the cause. Therefore, we want to raise four reasons why Pride Month is celebrated:
Remembering LGBTQI+ Activism and Resistance
Pride Month is a time to honor and remember the courageous individuals who fought back against discrimination, prejudice, and violence. The Stonewall Riots in New York City marked a turning point in the LGBTQI+ rights movement as the community stood up against police raids and systemic oppression. Pride Month serves as a reminder of the progress made since then, highlighting the collective efforts of activists and advocates who have fought for LGBTQI+ rights and social acceptance.
Advocating for Equal Rights
Pride Month provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the ongoing challenges faced by the LGBTQI+ community and advocate for equal rights. It serves as a platform for individuals and organizations to promote LGBTQI+ visibility, share stories, and educate the public about the importance of inclusivity and equality. Pride parades, events, and campaigns during this month aim to amplify the voices of the community and call for policy changes that protect LGBTQI+ individuals from discrimination in areas such as employment, housing, and healthcare.
Fostering Community and Support
Pride Month is a time for LGBTQI+ individuals to come together, celebrate their identities, and find community support. The month-long festivities create a sense of belonging and empowerment, especially for those who may feel isolated or marginalized in their day-to-day lives. Pride events and gatherings offer safe spaces for LGBTQI+ individuals to connect, forge friendships, and build supportive networks. These communities provide a source of strength, validation, and solidarity, enhancing mental health and overall well-being.
Promoting Visibility and Acceptance
Pride Month plays a crucial role in promoting LGBTQI+ visibility and fostering societal acceptance. The vibrant and colorful celebrations during this month attract attention from the media, allies, and the general public, raising the community’s visibility and challenging negative stereotypes. By showcasing the diverse identities and experiences within the LGBTQI+ spectrum, Pride Month helps break down barriers, dispel myths, and create opportunities for dialogue and understanding. It encourages individuals to embrace their authentic selves and promotes a more inclusive society where everyone is respected and celebrated for who they are.
Overall, Pride Month serves as a time of reflection, celebration, activism, and advocacy. It acknowledges the progress made in the fight for LGBTQI+ rights while reminding us of the work still ahead in creating a more equitable and inclusive world for all.
Pride in Aalto University
So how do we in Aalto celebrate Pride month or support our LGBTQI+ students?
One form of support is creating events for our LGBTQI+ students to enjoy and form meaningful connections. One of the oldest such events in Aalto is the Otaniemi GayDay, usually organized the day after the Pride parade on the last Sunday of June. The first GayDay was organized as early as 2012, even before the association GAYY ry was formed!
GAYY ry started finding its current form in 2013. Since then, we have organized events from chill evenings in our clubroom called the Closet Wednesdays (Kaappikeskiviikko) to bigger collaborations such as the Eurovision viewing party together with the Campus section and Master Committee of Aava. These types of events not only provide a safe space for our members to meet and mingle but also show the rest of the Aalto community that LGBTQI+ students continue to exist proudly and openly with pride. Later this year, GAYY will be turning ten years, and to celebrate this, we have a big surprise to share with our community! If you want to stay updated on what it will be, give us a follow on Instagram.
This year, GAYY is kicking off Pride month with a Pride opening party on the second of June! By hosting this event, we want to emphasize the importance of Pride Month and encourage other associations and guilds to participate in the celebration during the entire month of June. Let’s make this Pride Month bigger and bolder in Aalto!