Riots, Rainbows and Beers – Oh My! A Pride Month Reflection

Riots, Rainbows and Beers – Oh My! A Pride Month Reflection

The other day, as I was thinking about Pride Month a strange memory popped into my head. Remember in 2023 how a group of vocal, angry beer lovers started boycotting Bud Light? Some of the more dramatic among them would buy cases of their former favorite beer to pour out while lamenting the downfall of America. The more extreme members of the contingent went even further. Kid Rock, for instance, posted a video of himself shooting cases of the beer with a machine gun while yelling obscenities. Why? Because Bud Light partnered with Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender influencer.

It’s just so ridiculous that part of me wants to roll my eyes and move on, but there’s another part of me that understands this type of behavior isn’t just a stunt for publicity. It’s dangerous and it perpetuates hatred and misunderstanding toward LGBTQ+ people. Yes, Pride Month is about parades and rainbows, but Pride is also an important time to reflect on the idea of why oppression exists. Pride symbolizes the need to nurture a community that has been a continuous object of oppression and marginalization. One way we can nurture empathy is by learning about the oppression LGBTQ+ people have endured.

Pride Month Began with a Riot

We’ve touched on beer and rainbows. Let’s move on to riots. If you are not familiar with how Pride began, I would highly encourage you to read about the Stonewall Riots in New York City.  Those riots occurred in 1969 because the LGBTQ+ community had been singled out and harassed for simply wanting to a have a place where they could congregate without fear of violence or legal ramifications. Back then, not only was being gay scorned and punished but the law often did not allow for LGBTQ+ groups to operate in public domains exclusive to their culture. The Stonewall Riots were the beginning of a movement that changed this dynamic and a year after those riots, the first Pride parade occurred in New York City to commemorate that event.

Fighting for Basic Rights

Of course, we all know that the battle for the LGBTQ+ population continues uphill as the LGBTQ+ community has had to advocate for every right they have just to be able to have the same privileges as their heterosexual counterparts. The ability to serve in the military.  The right to marry the person one loves. The right to be able to be intimate in the privacy of your own home (still under attack in some states). The right to be protected from being terminated from a job. All of these rights had to be “granted” by some legislative body.

Having to continuously advocate for these types of baseline privileges is traumatizing, exhausting and quite different from those who belong to groups who have not been marginalized. The constant bombardment of negative external messages does not create an environment that breeds self-pride. (And if this is not bad enough, in other countries there are harsher penalties, such as death, for being in the LGBTQ+ community.)

Acts that Chip Away at Self-Worth

Currently, in our country the oppression continues. Legislative bodies pass laws prohibiting access to LGBTQ+-themed literature and the discussion of diversity at the university level. Lawmakers pass laws that do not allow a man to dress as a woman, yet they turn their heads when someone dresses in a white hood and robe. People boycott beer because they don’t like the transgender spokesperson. People rip down displays in Target simply because the clothing harbors rainbows. Some schools in Florida have been required to remove rainbow stickers from their doors. All these behaviors and actions, typically motivated by fear and bias, represent the desire for those in power to dominate the rights of another who has less power. All are examples of oppression, and all are acts that have the potential to chip away at the self-worth, spirit and pride of an individual.

So, just for one paragraph, let’s talk about the word “pride” apart from its affiliation with LGBTQ+ celebrations. Why is pride, in a general sense, so important?  According to, an e-counseling platform, a sense of pride allows us to view ourselves more positively because when we possess self-pride, we can see our achievements and appreciate our uniqueness in the world. Self-pride sets the tone for a person to be more productive and to better contribute to society.  Self-pride in simplest terms is the ability to be happy with who you are.  It seems to defy logic that as a society we often miss the opportunity to create the potential for self-pride for everyone.

We know that one month of Pride or one parade is not enough to extinguish all the negativity that continues to be thrown in the faces of the LGBTQ+ community, but Pride month can help people to embrace their history and appreciate their value to the world, while at the same time solidifying supports for a marginalized community.

Historically, the idea of any parade is to “maintain a historical and cultural heritage.”  Historian Mary Ryan talks about the idea that beginning in the mid-18th century and evolving over time, parades became part of the way that Americans developed a distinctive model of public performance: one where diverse representatives of the urban population, paraded through the public. Over time, a new tradition evolved in which the parade represented a public vehicle of identity proclamation and validation for any group with enough organizational ability and unity.

Finding Acceptance at PEP

Pride Month helps us to reflect on the idea that we need to promote unity and diversity simultaneously.  We will benefit exponentially as a society if we can do this beginning at a young age, since the core of one’s identity and bias is most heavily influenced in early childhood.  At PEP we embrace the idea of differences, and we are committed to making our schools a safe place for all individuals. We are committed to working with children and families in all our programs so that young people can thrive – regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Many of the LGTBQ+ kids we serve have histories filled with trauma ̶ both personal and systemic. We want to ensure they feel supported in the PEP community so they can begin to experience self-pride.  It is our hope that with the encouragement of supportive relationships, every child will be able to overcome and thrive in the face of negative messages they may be receiving or have received about who they are and how they have come to be. At PEP our goal is to create hope by laying the groundwork for the acceptance of differences and promoting the idea that a child should know some joy in every day.

Contributed by Jim Flynn, director, Early Childhood Plus and Deanna Moore, director, communications and marketing


Self-Esteem: The Importance of Being Proud of Yourself

The History of Parades

The Stonewall Riots