Pride month may be over, but pride season is well and truly upon us. Today thousands of people from across the UK will be celebrating London Pride.
With Pride events taking place up and down the country, covering the streets with rainbows and glitter.
But do we still need pride?
A question which seems to be asked too regularly, along with “why isn’t there a straight pride” or “you’ve got equality, you don’t need pride anymore it’s just a party”.
Firstly, if someone wanted a ‘straight pride’ that desperately, they would have started one. Secondly the LGBTQ+ community have had to fight for their rights for many, many years. Being treated as a second class citizen, targeted for hate crimes and discriminated against.
Yes we can legally marry, yes we can have a family. But in a recent government study, published this month shows how two-thirds of LGBTQ+ people in the UK avoid holding hands in public, due to fears of negative reactions. Even in this day and age discrimination towards LGBTQ+ people is still very present, whether that’s from strangers in the street, family who can’t except you, peers at school, college or work who just make life just a little harder. Simply looking on social media on this particular article, the comments from people in this country just shows how much homophobia is still present in this day and age.
Pride events may have turned from less of a political protest, to more of a party or festival. But we must always remember what it took for this community to be in the position we are in today, we’ve seen this community make leaps and bounds in terms of acceptance in society but there are still too many LGBTQ+ people who are rejected and attacked for being who they are, expressing themselves in ways that feel right, and loving who they can’t help but love. Pride events — specifically Pride parades — are about visibility and creating a sense of belonging for people who may not have it. It’s about giving hope to people who may feel that life will never get better.
Pride is a place of solace and a place of safety for many of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s an open door to new possibilities, a place to meet new, likeminded people.
So do we still need a pride? Absolutely.
Next week I’ll be heading to North Wales for LFest, the UK’s only Lesbian festival.