Pride season is here and the celebration is in full effect. Pride is an opportunity to respectfully and fully honor people exactly who they are, as they are.

If you've never attended any Pride festivities, whether it be a major palooza at a metropolitan hub like NYC or a local parade in your city, the thought might be intimidating. However, what is waiting for you outside of discomfort is an opportunity to be embraced by a community of people who only seek to spread love and unity. Aside from the significance of what Pride stands for, it is a glorious space to have fun.

Whether you identify as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, are questioning or are an ally, here are some tips to help you make the best of your first time participating in any Pride event.

Be Prepared

As with any public event, it is always wise to have items in you possession that will keep you safe such as an ID card, portable phone charger and extra cash on. Unfortunately, we live in a time where hateful individuals have a desire to exert unnecessary violence against LGBTQIA+ folks so it is important to be vigilant of your surroundings.

Additionally, since Pride Month is in June, the temperatures are likely to spike to bring a portable fan and water bottle so that you can comfortably turn up.

Roll Out With the Homies

It's always brave to go into new cultural moments solo but for your first Pride, it would be best to grab your friends and attend as a collective. Pride represents the human family coming together as one in the name of equality and it would be a literal ball to share in that with the people you hold close. The experience itself could be the catalyst for someone in your crew to obtain the courage to stand in their own truth so inviting others to come along for the journey is always a plus.

Don't Exert Your Limits

It can be tempting to "go hard or go home" when you have a full slate of Pride activities planned. However, be sure to only engage in what you feel comfortable in. You have nothing to prove so there's no need to go above and beyond if it doesn't please you, especially if this is your first go 'round. Additionally, rest is a privilege that marginalized groups don't always have the luxury of doing so be sure to prioritize it during Pride month.

Feel Free to Be You

Of all the things Pride is meant to symbolize, it is about freedom— freedom to choose, love and exist peacefully. This is not the time to put on any airs. Show up as your best self and let the energy of the occasion make you feel whole.

Happy Pride Month!