This month is Pride month, which commemorates the Stonewall Riots, which occurred in June 1969. The Stonewall Riots is “largely regarded as a catalyst for the LGBT movement for civil rights in the United States. The riots inspired LGBT people throughout the country to organize in support of gay rights.”

In 2021, gay pride is celebrated with parades and celebrations, as well as an influx of businesses releasing gay pride themed apparel and accessories. Some of those businesses advocate for gay rights all year round, others show up for pride month for the money that they will surly make off of exploiting those folks who want to support the LGBTQ+ community by buying their rainbow-themed products. This can be called rainbow-washing or slacktivism.

So, in the interest of celebrating and advocating for gay rights, I thought I would share with you queer-owned businesses that you should consider buying from, media that centers around LGBTQ+ folks or positively portrays LGBTQ+ folks, and LGBTQ+ people that you should follow and support.

To be crystal clear, you should support gay rights and the LGBTQ+ community all year round. Support and consume the things that I am going to list below every day of the year, not just during Pride month.

I can only count myself as a part of the LGBTQ+ community as an ally, so I cannot speak for the community. I have compiled the following list of media, businesses and people from online resources, my followers and my own stumbling through the internet. Please let me know if any of the things that I list are problematic or not so friendly to the LGBTQ+ community.

I will not argue with anyone about gay rights or my support of the LGBTQ+ community. All people deserve human rights. All people deserve to get married wherever they want to and whenever they want to. There is nothing wrong with someone who identifies as LGBTQ+. Your gender identity and sexuality are valid, honored and safe here.

LGBTQ+ Businesses to Support

The Neighborhood Trading Co – I found this brand on TikTok at the height of quarantine and supported them last year. I bought this Scorpio necklace and love to follow the company and it’s owner, Austin, on Instagram. They are an online store that features many brands on their website and has a storefront in Galena, IL.

OtherWild – This brand was recommended to me by my friend, Katie, and I actually had found it in my research as well. They have a storefront in Los Angeles and online. They have their own line of apparel and home goods and they focus on ethically-sourced goods. I will definitely be shopping their site soon!

Terrance Williams Designs – This brand was suggested to me by a follower of mine, @thriftedthimbles, and I am so glad that she told me about this company. Terrance sells handmade, ethically-sourced and sustainably-produced clothing and accessories. I mean, come on, look at this boob headband! I need it.

Loyalty Bookstore – This bookstore came up on my search for queer-owned businesses and it happens to be close to my home in Virginia. I cannot wait to check it out!

Denatured Thrifts – This Depop seller was recommended to me by my friend, Libby, who, like the owner of the store, is an alumna of the university that I work for. They specialize in vintage and is based in Pittsburgh, PA.

LGBTQ+ People to Follow

(All of these names are linked to the person’s Instagram and this list excludes A list celebrities. These are people I personally follow. )

Queer-Centered Media & Media That Positively Features LGBTQ+ Folks

(These are movies, documentaries and shows that I have seen and recommend.)

  • Brokeback Mountain (RIP Heath Ledger)
  • Rocketman
  • The Birdcage (This is one of my favorite movies of all time.)
  • Circus of Books (on Netflix)
  • The Death & Life of Marsha P. Johnson (on Netflix)
  • Love, Simon
  • Moonlight
  • Carol
  • Atypical (on Netflix)
  • Glee
  • Grace & Frankie (on Netflix)
  • How to Get Away with Murder
  • Jessica Jones
  • Ratched
  • Schitt’s Creek
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • Special (on Netflix)

Books by Queer Authors

(These are books that I have read and recommend.)

Queer Musicians

(These are musicians that are a part of the LGBTQ+ community and crank out bops.)

  • Freddie Mercury & Queen
  • Elton John
  • Sam Smith
  • Janelle MonĂ¡e
  • Ashnikko
  • Fletcher

As you can see some sections are shorter than others, but I am trying hard to add more LGBTQ+ media into my life so that I can learn more about the LGBTQ+ community and be a better advocate. And I have the desire to support LGBTQ+ owned businesses more often because it is important to put my dollar where my mouth is. Money I spend on LGBTQ+ brands directly supports an LGBTQ+ person, which is a good use of my coin, in my opinion.

Please, please, please tell me what is missing from this list. I know there are tons of things that I haven’t read, watched, listened to or supported. I will add anything that I think deserves a spot on the list. (I’m not going to add something that I have found out is problematic and I will remove anything that I find out is problematic.)

To be a better advocate without spending money, do your research when you are shopping in your daily life or when you are voting. Don’t support brands who support anti-gay agendas, looking at you Chik-fi-la and Hobby Lobby. Don’t support politicians who are anti-gay rights, looking at you Ted Cruz, ya asshat.

Open your eyes to hate crimes against LGBTQ+ folks and, specifically, transgender folks. Use and accept people’s pronouns! Stand up to your friends and family who use hate speech and spew hatred and falsehoods towards the LGBTQ+ community.

Gay rights are human rights. Y’all means all. Period.