Updated: Aug 8
Pride is one of my favorite times of the year! It’s a time when the LGBTQ+ community and allies come together to celebrate and advocate for equal rights and acceptance. As a therapist that welcomes and supports this community, I believe that Pride shouldn't be limited to just one month of the year. It is crucial to celebrate and support yourself and others throughout the year.
In this blog, I will explore why I feel Pride should extend beyond a single month and offer practical tips on how to celebrate yourself and embrace inclusivity all year round.
Not everyone arrives at the stage of fully accepting themselves at the same time. Pride enhances that journey for those who are still struggling and pushes you toward being able to recognize and celebrate your unique identities, regardless of orientation or gender identity.
I encourage my clients to always engage in self-reflection and continuously develop a sense of self-compassion. Embracing your authentic self and acknowledging your strengths and accomplishments are crucial steps towards building self-esteem. I always suggest trying to make it a habit to practice positive self-talk, prioritize self-care, and engage in activities that nourish your soul. Celebrating yourself should be a continuous journey, not just limited to one month.
Educate Yourself and Others
Some say that one of the most effective ways to support the LGBTQ+ community is by educating yourself and others. I also know that it is not the responsibility of the LGBTQ+ community to feel obligated to educate others.
Everyone’s story is different. It is everyone’s responsibility to take the time to understand different orientations, gender identities, and the challenges faced by individuals who identify as LGBTQ+. You can read books, watch documentaries, attend workshops or webinars, and engage in conversations that promote inclusivity. By educating ourselves, we can become better allies, challenge stereotypes, and promote a more accepting society.
Promote Inclusivity in Your Community
Creating a safe and inclusive environment for everyone is an ongoing process. I also am aware this has been and continues to be an ongoing struggle many people encounter around the world. As a supportive therapist, I encourage each person to take an active role in promoting inclusivity within your communities.
Advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, oppose discriminatory behavior or language, and support local organizations that provide resources and services to the LGBTQ+ community. Engage in open conversations and listen to the experiences and perspectives of others. Inclusivity is not just about tolerance; it's about actively embracing diversity and promoting an environment where everyone feels seen, heard, and respected.
Support Mental Health and Well-being
Mental health is more important now than ever before. It is particularly important within the LGBTQ+ community as people face mental health issues and are within a marginalized group. This can lead to many of you facing unique challenges related to identity, discrimination, and social stigma.
I stress the importance of seeking professional help when needed. Whether you identify as LGBTQ+ or not, prioritize mental health and well-being. Encourage others to access mental health resources and support groups. By fostering a culture of support, we can contribute to the overall well-being of our community.
Pride is More Than One Month!
I truly wish Pride was celebrated for more than just one month! As an allied therapist, my hope and wish for individuals is to embrace self-acceptance, educate themselves and others, and promote inclusivity in your communities! We can do all this by supporting mental health and well-being and engaging in activism and advocacy. I wish everyone a happy and safe Pride 2023!
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Natalie Thomas is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and Clinical Supervisor for Firelight Supervision. She is currently taking in-person appointments! She also provides group and individual clinical supervision for provisionally licensed counselors and social workers, along with clinical consultation for independently licensed therapists under Firelight Supervision.