Q: June is Pride Month. Why do Those Nerdy Girls feel it is important to write about Pride?

Social and Racial Justice

Q: June is Pride Month. Why do Those Nerdy Girls feel it is important to write about Pride?

June is Pride Month in the U.S. and many countries around the world. Pride events serve to celebrate, honor, uplift, educate, and increase understanding and visibility for and among members of Queer communities and their families and loved ones.

Visibility is important because it leads to improvements in safety and health.

Those Nerdy Girls would like to use today’s post to highlight some important facts about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Questioning, Two Spirit, Intersex, Agender, and Asexual (LGBTQ2SIA+) and Same Gender Loving (SGL) civil rights history and health as a community.

As public health scientists and clinicians, we aim to shed light on information gaps, especially when those gaps can lead to health problems for communities or individuals.

Let’s shine a public health light on some of the health issues people from the LGBTQ2SIA+ communities face.

In 2016, the National Institutes of Health designated sexual and gender minorities(SGMs) as a population experiencing health disparities, as “mounting evidence indicates that SGM populations have less access to health care and higher burdens of certain diseases, such as depression, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. But the extent and causes of health disparities are not fully understood, and research on how to close these gaps is lacking.”

Folks from the LGBTQ2SIA+ communities experience health disparities compared to their non-Queer peers in the following areas:

➡️ Heart Disease
➡️ Breast and Cervical Cancers
➡️ Violence
➡️ Mental Health Conditions
➡️ Substance Use Disorders
➡️ Sexually Transmitted Infections
➡️ Eating and Body Image Disorders

Why do these disparities exist?
Because of structural and societal inequities.

For example,

🟣 Healthcare is not equally accessible to many folks. Sometimes care is available but people avoid it due to previous discrimination or fear of discrimination.

🟣 Medical professionals aren’t always trained on the healthcare needs of Queer folks.

🟣 In some areas, laws prevent some Queer folks from accessing care.

🟣 Many treatments and recommendations for health are based on evidence from research that didn’t include or account for differences among the folks from Queer communities.

🟣 Systemic oppression and the daily experiences of bullying, discrimination, violence, and prejudice that Queer folks often face can lead directly or indirectly to some of the above-mentioned health problems. (This experience has been called “weathering” and originally was used by Dr. Arline T. Geronimus to describe the effects of systemic racism and classism.)

How big a problem is this? How many people might be facing these problems?

According to several polls and from nationally collected data in 2021 and 2023, global estimates of folks that identify under the LGBTQ2SIA+ umbrella range from ~3% to a whopping 20% among US Gen Zers! (See polls and national data here, here, here, and here.

In some areas (both globally and including many places in the U.S, we understand that these numbers may be undercounts because of unsafe societal or legal contexts for folks who identify as part of the Queer community. But even as possible undercounts, these numbers are a clear indicator that there are more LGBTQ2SIA+ folks in all communities, sectors, and fields than we may realize. They are our neighbors, our friends, our family members, and our colleagues.

And for those who are in places or contexts where they *are* safe enough to exist as themselves, they still face alarming barriers to health care and have higher risks of poor health outcomes.

Today, let’s put that in context by sharing a bit of the civil rights journey of Queer individuals and communities. In sharing and understanding the history that has sculpted and shaped our current environment, filled with growing worldwide Pride celebrations, we hope to deepen our grasp on why current public health initiatives matter, especially ones that address historical and pervasive societal inequities, and how even individual or local achievements move us toward a safer, healthier existence for all.

So now for a lil’ history!

Pride is celebrated in June to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising that began on June 28, 1969, in response to the routine violence by local police against customers of Stonewall Inn and other gay bars in New York City. Protests lasted a full week. On the first anniversary of the uprising, marches for Queer rights occurred in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. On the 30th Anniversary, June became Pride Month in the U.S. by a Presidential Proclamation. The Stonewall Inn was added to the National Register of Historic Places that same year. In 2024, Pride is celebrated worldwide (although the month may differ in different locations).

Some key events from Europe:

🏳️‍⚧️1951 – Roberta Cowell is the first known British trans woman to undergo reassignment surgery and have her birth certificate changed.

🏳️‍🌈1967 – In the UK the Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalizes sex between two men over 21 and ‘in private’ (but only in England. In Scotland and Northern Ireland men having sex with men remained illegal until the early 80s!)

🏳️‍🌈1972 – The first Pride event is held in London – 2000 participants take part.

🏳️‍🌈1988 – Denmark becomes the first country in the world to give legal recognition to same-sex partnerships.

🏳️‍🌈1992 – World Health Organisation declassifies same-sex attraction as a mental illness.

🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️1999 – The Admiral Duncan, a gay pub in London’s Soho, is bombed by former British National Party member, David Copeland. The attack kills three people and wounds at least 70.

🏳️‍⚧️2004 – In the UK the Gender Recognition Act 2004 is passed. It allows people to legally change their gender from male to female or vice versa.

🏳️‍🌈2013 – Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act is passed in England and Wales.

⚧️2015 – Sweden added the gender-neutral pronoun “hen” to its official dictionary, way to go Sweden! 🇸🇪

🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️2015 – The Royal Vauxhall Tavern becomes the first ever building in the UK to be given a special listing status based on its LGBT history – this is the UK version of the Stonewall Inn, a much loved iconic meeting place for all things queer and wonderful! 🎉♀️♂️⚧️

Global History:

🏳️‍🌈1983 – Simon Nkoli formed the Saturday Group, the first public, black LGBTQ+ group in Africa.
🏳️‍🌈1996 – South Africa becomes the first country in the world to provide constitutional protection to LGBTQ+ people.
🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️2011 – after legalizing gay marriage, Argentina becomes the first country in the world to allow anyone to change the gender assigned at birth through a process known as gender self-identification.

The question is: what can we do to address and alleviate inequities Queer individuals and communities face and how can you help as readers?

As a start, we can be open, aware, and curious – even if we don’t “get” someone else’s sexual orientation or gender identity, being inclusive and non-judgemental is a huge step in making everyone feel accepted and safe. We are all humans after all and thrive on connection and love and having protections in place for our basic needs.

What are other ways you can have an impact on these disparities in your own communities? Comment below.

And, if you would like to learn more about the science behind sexual orientation and gender identity, see our posts on these subjects in the resource list below.

Stay safe, stay curious, stay connected,

Those Nerdy Girls &+


Here are some previous posts on this topic from Those Nerdy Girls:

What’s the difference between sex and gender?

What does the science say about gender identity?

Isn’t boy vs. girl just a simple matter of different sex chromosomes (XX vs. XY) and body parts?

Intimate Partner Violence in the LGBTQ+ community

Information on puberty blockers

Transgender Awareness Week

Link to Original FB Post