By Scott Cloutier, Director of Communications, Queen City Pride (He/Him/His)
During a time when many civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community are still being questioned with hate and bigotry, it is more important than ever for everyone, including community allies, to get involved. While New Hampshire may seem small to many in the global community, it is still a place we are advocating for change and working to shape our community. Being the largest city in the state but not the capital city, Manchester, New Hampshire (home of FIRST Headquarters) was nicknamed the Queen City. Queen City Pride was born when its founders felt that the greater Manchester area needed an annual celebration for the LGBTQ+ community, like most metropolitan areas around the world.
Since the inception of Queen City Pride four years ago, and its official nonprofit launch in 2022, the turnout, support, excitement, and love have been greater than anticipated. This outpouring of support has not only confirmed that Queen City Pride is necessary, but it has shown us that there is so much more work to be done. Now that we are operating as an official nonprofit organization, our growth will allow us to further our mission and participate in meaningful collaborations with other like-minded, local organizations in the continued fight for equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community and other underrepresented groups.
YOU can make a difference in your community, too. Here are three tips for getting involved:
Give to organizations whose mission truly benefits and supports the community.
Much of the corporate and retail world now celebrates Pride Month which is exciting for the LGBTQ+ community. However, it’s important to make sure that the organizations you are purchasing products from or supporting with donations are giving back to the community directly. Nonprofit organizations are a great place to start because their missions and values are directly tied to the communities they serve. For example, Queen City Pride in New Hampshire designed its mission to target the underserved and underrepresented queer populations in our local community. Bringing together local organizations and people from all walks of life has begun to help create safe spaces for all.
Take Allyship to the next level
Many people across the world have a connection to the LGBTQ+ community. A mother, brother, sister, uncle, or someone close to you may identify as queer. Now is the time to show them that you are a true ally. We are at a crux in society where blind support no longer accomplishes making change. In order to take your allyship to the next level you must become actively involved. Attend a pride festival, be respectful and open to learn, find someone in the community in need and help them. When the queer community is once again being bombarded by hateful rhetoric, its allies take on a critical role in bridging the gap and changing culture.
Volunteer, Volunteer, Volunteer
As mentioned, allyship is critical to demonstrating support for the LGBTQ+ community, and this means stepping in to help as needed. Volunteering for a local nonprofit organization is a perfect opportunity to show your support. To put on even the smallest event, in the smallest of towns, any nonprofit organization needs volunteers to assist. In New Hampshire, we have built and continue to build an incredible network of over 100 volunteers that assist in the day-to-day activities of the organization, the planning of our festival, and community outreach. Without volunteers, we would not be able to expand our reach and continue changing our community for the better.
FIRST is a proud sponsor of the Queen City Pride Festival on June 18. Stop by the Youth Area tent to say hi and meet FIRST teams.
To learn more about Queen City Pride's upcoming events, visit: https://queencitypridenh.org/events/
If you or someone you know has experienced one-time or ongoing issues such as suspected abuse, bullying, harassment, discrimination, questionable behavior or comments by peers and/or adults, or if you or someone you know is dealing with sensitive issues that cannot be resolved at a community level, please follow this link to report the issue to the FIRST Youth Protection Program.
If you or someone you know is in need of support relating to LGBTQ+ issues, please visit The Trevor Project. The Trevor Project can connect you with a trained counselor 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, from anywhere in the United States, or you can join their network to get connected with other LGBTQ+ young people. It is 100% confidential, and 100% free.