There are tons of LGBTQ events throughout the year, but none is more important than Pride Month in June. For many, it’s an excuse to get wasted and party like there’s no tomorrow. And while we’re not against having fun, we think there are plenty of ways to celebrate Pride Month without alcohol.
Why Celebrating Pride Month Without Alcohol Is Important
Before getting into the 10 ways to celebrate Pride Month without alcohol, it’s important to understand why a list like this is necessary.
Put simply, alcohol abuse is a huge problem in the LGBTQ community. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 20-30% of the LGBTQ population reports substance use disorders, compared to only 9% of the population as a whole.
What’s more, SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults are more likely to engage in casual, binge, and heavy alcohol use than their heterosexual counterparts. These rates are even higher among transgender and non-binary folks.
There are many explanations for the high rates of substance abuse in the LGBTQ population. First, as with any stigmatized group, co-occurring disorders like stress, anxiety, and depression are present. As a result, many in the community self-medicate with substances.
Second, alcohol is often at the center of LGBTQ social events. Things like gay bars, drag brunches, and Pride condone, and even encourage, drinking to excess. And that’s without mentioning the fact that many of these events are sponsored by alcohol companies.
For LGBTQ people in recovery, socializing, especially during Pride Month, can feel isolating and difficult to navigate. But it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of ways to get into the spirit and enjoy this joyful time of year without reaching for a drink.
Read on to find 10 ways to celebrate Pride month without alcohol. As a bonus, many of them are virtual. That means you can feel safe taking part in 2021 and beyond.
1. Attend The Gay & Sober Pride Festival
Every year, a non-profit association called Gay & Sober hosts The Pride Celebration in conjunction with New York City Pride.
This year’s events take place on June 27th. The first is the Pride Fest Block Party during the day. It’s free and open to sober folks and their allies. At night, there’s a ticketed cruise called Dance on the River.
If you want to make a weekend of it, you can also attend The ROUNDdown on Monday, June 28th. ROUNDdown guests will enjoy a full day of recreation and relaxation on one of America’s best known gay beaches, Fire Island. Tickets include transportation to and from the beach, as well as a souvenir bath towel for the first 20 people to sign up.
Tickets haven’t gone on sale yet, but make sure to join Gay & Sober’s mailing list to be notified when they’re available.
2. Attend A Virtual Pride Event
Although businesses are starting to reopen and events are resuming little by little, most of this year’s Pride events will likely take place online.
While it’s a bummer to miss out on in-person events for the second year in a row, there are plenty of quality virtual events to get you into the queer spirit.
Do a quick Google search for “virtual pride events” to find one that you like or choose one from our list of suggestions:
- Pride Con: A Virtual Pride Party (June 1st-6th)
- Porch Pride (June 5th)
- Pride! A Communi-tea Celebration (June 8th)
- Indy Pride Virtual Festival (June 12th)
- Pride Bingo (June 22nd)
- NYC Pride | Rally (June 25th)
3. Host A (Virtual) LGBTQ Book Club
Already part of a book club? Just like to read? Why not celebrate Pride with a book by an LGBTQ author this month?
Books by LGBTQ authors and those with queer characters mirror the world we live in. What’s more, everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserves to see their experiences reflected in engaging stories.
After you’re done reading, host an online meeting with friends or meet up over coffee to discuss.
Here are some ideas to get you inspired:
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- City of Night by John Rechy
- The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
- The Hours: A Novel by Michael Cunningham
- Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
- Small Beauty by jia qing wilson-yang
- Fairest by Meredith Talusan
Don’t see anything you like? Check out a more detailed list here.
4. Do Pride Crafts
If you have kids or enjoy getting crafty, Pride month is the perfect excuse to make all the rainbow crafts. Not only will it get you in the queer spirit, but you’ll also have something to show off during Pride celebrations.
Go it solo, or host a virtual craft session with queer friends.
We’re big fans of these crafts:
- Pride friendship bracelets
- Rainbow sequin hair clips
- Colorful balloon wreath
- Pop-up rainbow heart card
- Pride painted t-shirt
5. Volunteer At A Local LGBTQ Organization
June is a great time to connect with an LGBTQ organization in your city or town. These groups work tirelessly year-round to provide support services to LGBTQ people in need and are always looking for extra help.
So find a cause that speaks to you and get in touch to find out what kinds of volunteer opportunities are available.
It’s likely that many opportunities will be online as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, but if you have your heart set on volunteering in person, it’s best to check with local groups.
Check these organizations offering virtual opportunities:
6. Send A Letter To An Important Queer Person In Your Life
Whether they’re a hometown hero, an activist, or an influencer, take time to thank them this month. Navigating life as an LGBTQ person is tough. And anyone who’s inspired you, gotten you through a rough patch, or taught you something deserves special recognition, especially during Pride.
7. Brush Up On Your LGBTQ History
You probably know about Stonewall and Kinsey’s homosexuality spectrum, but have you heard of Christine Jorgensen or the Lavender Scare? When it comes to LGBTQ history, even the wokest queer could stand to learn a few things.
For some inspiration, check out one of the movies from this list or explore a topic from this article.
8. Make A New LGBTQ Friend
With all of the Pride excitement swirling in the air, June is the perfect time to meet new LGBTQ friends. It’s easier than you think. For example, slip into someone’s DMs on social media, head to a Meetup event, or join a local LGBTQ sports team.
There are also organizations committed to connecting LGBTQ youth and elders via letter writing (Pride Pen Pals) and events (Sage Table).
For even more ways to make new friends that don’t involve drinking, check out this article.
9. Have A Queer Movie Marathon
From hard-hitting documentaries like Paris is Burning and Disclosure to moody dramas like Carol and Philadelphia, you’ll have no trouble finding an LGBTQ movie to suit your interests.
So grab some popcorn and check out some of our picks:
- The Kids Are All Right (2010)
- Pariah (2011)
- Milk (2008)
- Moonlight (2016)
- The Birdcage (1996)
- But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)
- My Own Private Idaho (1991)
- The Boys in the Band (1970 and 2020)
- Maurice (1987)
Still looking? Check out even more titles here!
10. Throw Your Own Sober Pride Party
Just because you want to celebrate Pride month without alcohol doesn’t mean parties are off the table. On the contrary, in fact.
Hosting means you get to make your event what you want it to be. Yours can be a quiet brunch with queer and sober friends or a sing-your-heart-out karaoke bash.
Here are some tips to make your party as awesome as possible:
- Host your party during the day, especially if you’re inviting people who aren’t sober
- Tell attendees ahead of time that it’s a dry event
- Consider having a theme party to steer the focus away from partying
- Have plenty of fun non-alcoholic beverages available (click here for colorful mocktail recipes)
- Create a Pride playlist with songs from queer artists like Elton John, Hayley Kiyoko, Ricky Martin, Tegan and Sara, Big Freedia, Sam Smith, and David Bowie.
- Make rainbow decorations with whatever you have on hand. Think markers, paint, glitter, deconstructed paper bags, or cardboard boxes.
Happy Pride Month From La Fuente
As a treatment center catering solely to LGBTQ people, we feel proud of our community each and every day. LGBTQ people are strong, independent, and resilient. As such, we feel honored to provide LGBTQ-affirmative substance abuse treatment to those who are struggling.
So if you, or someone you love, is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, now is the time to get help. Fill out the form below. We’ll be in touch within 24 hours to help you decide if our Los Angeles treatment center is right for you.
Happy Pride Month from our CEO Manny and the entire La Fuente Treatment Team.