Pride Month not only celebrates the progress that has been made in LGBT+ rights over the last few decades. It’s also a protest and a call to arms. While many things have improved for LGBT+ people in the UK, it’s not mission accomplished. From rising hate crime to homelessness to an LGBT+ pay gap – we still have work to do.
What’s the Story of Pride?
Stonewell Inn was a gay bar in New York which was frequented by the poorest and most marginised people in the community. The police launched an unprovoked raid on the bar, harming many of the people inside on 28th June, 1969. This resulted in days of riots from gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons who had had enough of the way their communities were treated. These days of struggle and unrest would soon become the start of Pride.
Pride since then has changed, many of the parades in Western Countries have become commercial and often are sponsored by banks or other brands. Despite this change, the purpose of Pride still stands. It’s providing a sense of belonging to many people that have spent their life believing they don’t belong. It’s an opportunity to raise awareness, to empower and most importantly, strive for equality. Even in Western Countries where homosexuality has been legalised for decades there are still homophobic and transphobic attacks, many members of the LGBT+ community feel they have to hide their sexuality and LGBT+ youth are on the sharp end of homelessness and mental health crises.
In addition, homosexuality remains illegal in over 70 countries. Peaceful Pride marches are often met with violent police presence or attacks from the general public. Pride in Uganda in 2012 was raided by police on the incorrect grounds of a gay wedding was taking place at the event. Then in 2017 Pride was banned and the organisers were threatened with arrest or violence by the Ugandan Minister of Ethics, Simon Lokodo.
In 2012 the Court in Moscow banned Pride parades for 100 years as this is believed to spread ‘Homosexual propaganda’. Moscow pride was meant to take place annually from 2006, these years of parades had been met with a brutal police presence and attacks from civilians.
I hope this brief history of the Pride has made you aware of its importance. It’s not just a celebration – but a defiant protest. Whatever your sexual orientation, showing your support can make a huge difference in many people’s lives. Whether you attend the parades, donate to LGBTQ+ charities like Stonewall, or are just willing to listen and learn this can help towards achieving equality.