Tips for Staying Safe While Celebrating Pride Month
June 2021 is LGBTQ+ pride month in the United States. It is a time to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City, a major turning point in the gay rights movement. To celebrate and honor the event, as well as provide an opportunity to shed the shame and stigma that pervades throughout society, many cities are hosting large parades, marches, and other festivities.
While Pride is a time of joy, celebration, and increased visibility, it’s still very important to remain safe. Here are some tips for staying safe at a Pride event.
#1 Go with Someone You Trust
Attending pride events with a friend or a group of friends is not only more enjoyable, but also safer. There’s strength in numbers, and being together enables you to watch over each other.
As with most celebratory occasions, people sometimes overdo it with drugs or other intoxicants. This can reduce inhibitions and make someone do something dangerous or that they’ll regret. By staying with friends, you can make sure your friends get home safely and they can make sure you do the same.
#2 Be Prepared
Make sure your phone is charged and bring extra battery packs and chargers if you can. Also, familiarize yourself with the area before the event and come up with a meeting place for your group should someone get separated without a phone. Be sure to write down phone numbers just in case someone’s phone dies, gets lost, or breaks. Also, outline a general plan for the day or night so that people know where and when to meet up if they have to leave the group.
If possible where you live, getting Narcan training and carrying this medication with you is a potential way to save someone’s life in the event of an opioid overdose. In New Jersey, naloxone is available at pharmacies without the need for a prescription and the law protects people that administer the drug to someone undergoing an opioid overdose.
Also, make sure you and your friends have a safe way of getting home at the end of the day or night. If you plan on drinking, make sure you won’t have to drive later. Park your car in a safe place you can leave it over night or use a cab, rideshare, or public transportation service to get to and from the venue.
#3 Be Vigilant
If you notice something that doesn’t seem right, trust your instincts. While the overwhelming majority of people attending Pride are there for the right reasons, there’s always a chance someone may be there to hurt others or make them feel uncomfortable.
Familiarize yourself with the 4 D’s of bystander intervention beforehand:
- Distract. This is a subtle way to intervene when someone is suffering harassment. You may be able to distract either the harasser or the person being harassed with an unrelated conversation that will de-escalate the situation.
- Delegate. Get a 3rd party to help out, ideally someone with perceived authority like a bouncer or store manager.
- Direct. Be assertive and tell the aggressor to stop. Be aware this method may lead to a physical altercation.
- Delay. Check in with the person that was harassed afterward and see if there’s anything you can do to help them (e.g., ask if there’s someone you can call, if they need to talk, etc.).
Learning these 4 principles can make Pride events and other public spaces safer for others.
Stay Safe at Pride and Afterward
Unfortunately, drug and alcohol addiction and misuse rates are especially high within the LGBTQ+ community, and research highlights the need for more specialized treatment programs that address the unique needs of sexual minorities.