Pride Month may be ending soon, but that doesn't mean the fight for LGBTQ+ equality and acceptance is done and over with for another year until next June rolls around. In fact, once Pride Month officially ends, people should actually be ramping up the ways — both personal and wide-reaching — in which they showcase who they are and fight for what they believe in. And popular photo-sharing platform Instagram's latest campaign, Pride Here, is a perfect example of how even during times when the streets aren't fully decorated with rainbows, Pride lives throughout the queer community — no matter what.
With another Pride Month coming to a close, some of Instagram's most beloved, out-and-proud creators share with us what they want to see happen when it comes to the future, if they're hopeful or not, and how we can all work to create a better, more accepting world for people who live on the margins.
"We must continue to call out large corporations who give money to politicians that actively harm the queer community through policy-making," said writer and designer Phillipe Thao (@bokchoybaddie) about some of the changes he wants to see when it comes to building a better and brighter future for the LGBTQ+ community. "As corporations are rainbow-washing themselves, we must hold them responsible for where their money is going. I also hope that as we move forward with LGBTQ+ representation, that we think beyond just cis white gays. For representation to really matter, we need to see faces, colors, and shapes that actually look like us."
And while Thao says the "passion and tenacity of today’s queer youth" inspires his outlook for the future, he wants people to know that that onus of change shouldn't be placed just on the shoulders of the next generation. Older generations also need to step it up to seek and create change. "We must also create change alongside them and aid younger folks with the tools, resources, and mentorship to sustain themselves."
"I am always hopeful for the future because I know that life will improve for many of us," activist Charlie Scott (@dineaesthetics) said.
They added, "I want to see Indigenous LGBTQ+ youth celebrated in their Native Nations. I want trans youth to feel validated and supported in who they are. I want the LGBTQ+ community to access healthcare without the fear of harassment and discrimination. I want us to live in a world without the possibility of a hate crime."
"We are stronger in numbers. A bit cliché, but still rings true to this day for us. We are a community of artists, of activists, and of changemakers. We need to uplift and support each other and our causes, whether it is Black Lives Matter, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, supporting undocumented communities, and much more. Solidarity has and will always be essential for our community."
Style maven Devon Kitt (@kaprisun_kid) says that uplifting voices within the community that are being suppressed by others is the best way to go about change because shining a light on the underrepresented will help educate others and let current and future generations know "what Pride is really about and how it began!"
"I’m very hopeful for the future of this community because we are already changing the direction of Pride by having protests and marches that empower voices in our community that have been silenced!" they added. "Just acknowledging the issue is a great step in the right direction. Now all we have to do is keep supporting one another and educating each other about issues within our community and things will change!"
"I want to see schools grow and teach their students about the fight for gay rights and the struggles the community continues to go through," Riley Loudermilk (@riley.loudermilk), an Ohio teen who was elected royalty at her school's prom this year with her girlfriend Annie Wise (@annie_wisee), said about the role schools and institutions of learning can play in highlighting the hard paths so many queer people still face and paving the path for a safer, more inclusive future. "I am hopeful for the future generations to grow more and more to love and support their peers and family who may identify in the LGBTQ+ community."
Echoing Riley's thoughts, Annie added, "I feel like advocating for and protecting members of the community who are more at risk would be super beneficial. This society is more hostile to some members of the LGBTQ+ community than others and it’s important to protect them."
"I am hopeful for the future. This next generation is the gayest, most open-minded generation in history! We are here are we’re not going anywhere. Change is coming and I think that Riley and I winning prom royalty is proof of that. The fact that students in a conservative area voted for a lesbian couple to win prom king and queen proves that kids are educating themselves and starting to think differently than their parents. I’m so excited to see how this generation changes the world!"
Two-Spirit artist, designer, and dancer Sean Snyder (@seanqsnyder) says they are hopeful for the future of Pride, and that they pray the changes that need to happen for all people will come quickly.
"It would make me proud if our Native organizations would start lobbying for change within Tribal Policies," they said of the specific things they want to see. "I would like to see changes that protect our trans/gender non-conforming/Two-Spirit community. There is still an epidemic of violence that our queer community endures, and I want that to change that so we can all feel safe to go home."
"Despite everything, I am. Because I know we are one powerful group," Julian Gavino (@thedisabledhippie), a model, activist, and writer said. "We are all unique people, a part of the same larger community who share similar yet different issues. One major thing we have in common is that we have not given up yet."
"I want to see more overall intersectional representation in the media, protected healthcare, rights regarding anything to do with bodily-autonomy, more gender-neutral restrooms, better community efforts for at-risk queer youth, trans people included in sports, more LGBTQIA+ people in politics, and more queer disability amplification," he said, sharing some of the suggestions he had for the revolutions he wants to see happen soon. "Perhaps most pressing of all, I want to see less violence towards Black trans women. We need more action taken against those who commit this violence, and more action towards community efforts to keep trans folks safe. This involves dealing with these structural issues like systemic racism, poverty, disability rights, and lack of access to basic needs such as housing and education."