Why Pride is Still Needed
June was Pride month across the world, England is celebrating 10 years of same-sex marriage, Manchester celebrates Pride during August and after 25 years of being boyfriends, my partner and I married a few weeks ago.
Lots to celebrate!.. but why do we still need Pride?...
One recent answer to this question takes me back a couple of weeks when I recently I bought a Swatch watch in Manchester from their new Pride range. The watch is predominantly blue symbolising “Harmony”, and the two little strap loops have rainbow colours on them. All very lovely and not worthy of any media coverage… but then in a shocking tale of events, Malaysia decided not only to ban all these watches, but also to seize them from the shops in a series of raids on shopping malls. Why?... well, because homosexuality is forbidden in Malaysia and can be punished with imprisonment.
Another recent answer would be the banning of drag queens in Tennessee, USA in public places where there could be people under the age of 18. This is a country where drag queens are seen to be far more of a threat than guns. Thankfully the pop-sensation Lizzo’s response to this new legislation was an epic protest! At one of her concerts in Tennessee when she invited a flamboyance of Drag Queens on stage and thanked them for showing their Pride. Nice work Lizzo!
Brianna Ghey, a transgender teenager (aged 16), was stabbed to death in February this year by two teenage children in Warrington, Cheshire. A distressing hate crime carried out by youngsters, very close to where my young niece & nephew live. These are very worrying times indeed.
A mass shooting occurred in November 2022 at Club Q in Colorado Springs. Club Q is an LGBTQ nightclub owned by my friends in the USA. Five people were killed, and 25 others were injured. These needless murders sent shock waves across the world and chilled the blood of the LGBTQ+ community. The threat of violence and hate crime is everywhere.
Personal Stories and Positive Change
Before my marriage to my long-term partner, both my Mum & Dad asked us why we hadn’t married sooner? The simple answer was because we weren’t legally allowed (much to my parents’ surprise!). We are both originally from Belfast and we always vowed that we would get hitched as soon as it became legal to do so in all parts of the UK. Northern Ireland was a late bloomer and only legalised same-sex marriage in 2020 (got there in the end!).
3 years later and we tied the knot! The celebrant at our wedding was our friend Carl Austin-Behan who was the first openly gay Lord Mayor of Manchester in 2016 (and the youngest!). In the 90’s, Carl was forced out of the RAF for being gay and he could’ve faced a prison sentence. Thankfully this wouldn’t happen today. He is currently working for the LGBT Foundation as a Community Ambassador, and in the past, he has been an LGBT advisor to Andy Burnham, the current Mayor of Greater Manchester. Our hero!
Talking of Mayors, I attended Salford Pride recently, and had my photo taken with the Mayor of Salford. This was a much smaller Pride event compared to the impressive Manchester Pride festival we all know & love today. However, the core messages still stays as a constant. Love, Peace, Equality, Harmony, Diversity, Acceptance, Inclusion.
Importance of Pride
So, there have been great accomplishments for the LGBTQ+ community across the nation, but things can be reversed and can go backwards, and this is why we need Pride. We need to remember our LGBTQ+ history and make sure the bad things don’t get repeated. We celebrate Pride so our LGBTQ+ friends in Malaysia and Tennessee can see us and feel there is hope and they are not alone – we support them, we stand by them and we see them!
We still need Pride for visibility, support, allyship & love.
If one Pride flag makes someone out there feel part of something and feel supported, then it’s worth it… change your company logo’s! I personally love seeing all your fabulous rainbow branding across LinkedIn! Adding your pronouns to your emails and LinkedIn also shows support to the trans community. It’s a simple gesture, but means a lot.
I’m part if the DEI Committee at Empresaria plc (our parent company). Visibility at work is extremely important to me. I want other LGBTQ+ work colleagues to be comfortable & confident in their own skin. If they see me, then they see representation of their community in the workplace – this can only be a good thing! If I can be my authentic self, then they can too.
So much money is spent on war & hate at the moment, so why prevent love & harmony? The hashtag #LoveIsLove means so much to the LGBTQ+ community for all these reasons.
Promoting LGBTQ+ awareness is Good, but ensuring behaviour is changing is Better.
Let’s keep working on equality across the world and show everyone just how Proud we are!
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