My active engagement with Indy Pride began in 2015. The catalyst for my personal involvement was a piece of legislation known as Indiana SB 101 or Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which would have opened the door to discrimination against me and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
I opted to seek volunteer opportunities with local LGBTQ organizations as a way of showing my commitment to my community. Indy Pride and a few other organizations have been the beneficiaries of my philanthropy.
Officially declared in 2021, LGBTQ+ Pride Month commemorates the ongoing pursuit of equal justice for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) community and celebrates the accomplishments of LGBTQ+ individuals.
History of LGBTQ+ Pride Month?
The catalyst for Pride Month and the modern gay rights movement was a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 28, 1969. This was not the first time the police had raided this well-established gathering place for the LGBTQ+ community; it just happened to be the straw that broke the camel's back.
In response to the arrests and brutalization of patrons and employees, the LGBTQ+ community fought back and riots ensued, lasting about five days. The following year, on the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the first “gay pride” parade was held in New York City on June 28, 1970. That march in New York inspired others to take place across the country in solidarity.
Fun Fact: Some smaller cities host their annual Pride Month activities in the fall so as not to compete with larger cities. One fine example is Spencer, Indiana whose Spencer Pride organization hosts a very well-attended Pride parade and festival each October. This event is the largest rural LGBTQ+ celebration in Indiana
What is Indy Pride?
Indy Pride, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization which is best known for hosting the annual Indy Pride Parade and the Indy Pride Festival. Indy Pride, Inc., exists to unite and serve the LGBTQ community across Central Indiana through leadership development, educational programs, and community events throughout the year.
My participation with Indy Pride, specifically the parade and festival, are ways for me to honor those brave souls who stood up for equal rights and injustice at the Stonewall Inn back in June of 1969. I feel a personal obligation to commemorate that event and celebrate the successes of the diverse community.
When is Indy Pride?
The Indy Pride Parade and Indy Pride Festival are always held the second Saturday in June which happens to be June 11 this year. The Indy Pride Parade winds its way down Massachusetts Ave – the historic heart of the Indianapolis LGBTQ+ community. The Indy Pride Festival is held at Military Park and regularly includes national headliner entertainers.
Check out these links for additional info on the Parade and Festival. Some of the other notable events for Pride month in Indianapolis include:
How can I volunteer during Pride month?
As a 501(c)(3) organization, Indy Pride, Inc. relies heavily on its volunteers to host successful events. One of the awesome ways to get involved and give back to our community is by volunteering for Indy Pride Festival site set-up. Each year, the day before the parade and festival, volunteers meet at Military Park to help coordinators with setting up decorations, ticket booths, vendor booths, patron cabanas, security fencing, dining and beverage areas, family fun zones, etc.
This year, I plan to volunteer the day before the parade and festival by setting up and prepping Military Park for the throngs (expecting 75,000) of visitors. It’s a great way to get my steps in, burn off some calories and support my community. It is also a fun and rewarding way for Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance employees and other volunteers to participate in making the Indy Pride Festival a success!
To participate in this or other Indy Pride volunteer opportunities, see the links below.
Indy Pride, more than anything, is a reminder to all that we live in a wonderful, colorful, diverse, and beautiful world – with room for ALL people. This is the one message the resounds at the parade and at the festival, “Love is love, and love wins!”
There is nothing quite like the positivity that one feels marching in the Indy Pride Parade or experiencing top-notch entertainers at the Indy Pride Festival. Come experience it for yourself, and you’ll see what I mean!
In a world where hate and fear seem to spew forth daily, I offer this reminder – we are better together than we are apart. Embrace your fellow humans for the spirited, colorful and unique individuals they are – you never know the impact your goodwill may have.