What is pride? If you ask any LGBT person this question, every single person will give you a different answer. For some people, it’s a chance to show the world who they really are and be proud of that. For some, it’s an act of rebellion towards the world and society around them and for some, it’s a protest.
The first ever recorded Pride event was in New York in 1970. Exactly 12 months after Marsha P Johnson threw the first brick in the Stonewall riots. The Stonewall riots refer to a bar in New York, who rebelled against the Police raiding them for promoting LGBT behaviour by throwing bricks. If it wasn’t for that small group of people rebelling we wouldn’t have the pride we know and love today.
I know not all of you will be as interested in LGBT history as I am, but I feel like it’s important that anyone that attends a pride parade knows Marsha P Johnson’s name, and knows that originally Pride was a protest, however, since then times have changed, and for the UK anyway, LGBT people don’t need to protest as much.
Pride today is just as important as back then, although we may have our rights now, LGBT people are still being subjected to hate all around the world. Unfortunately, you don’t have to look far to see it these days. Which is why it’s important that we have that one weekend a year in which the whole city celebrates us. There’s nothing better than being surrounded by others who share the same view as you, and that’s why I love pride parades so much. There’s nothing better than walking down the road during Pride weekend whilst holding your partner’s hand and not getting any funny looks from the public, it’s sad, but it’s true.
That reason is why Pride is so important to me because, despite the fact it’s 2019, I still can’t walk around holding my partner’s hand without receiving strange looks from the public. For that weekend, I feel accepted by everyone around me.
As most of you will know, I am very proud of my transgender identity, however, I struggle with being proud of my gay identity a lot of the time. Pride weekend is one where I can put my reservations aside and be as proud as I want to be able to feel whilst walking down the road holding my male partner’s hand, without worrying that someone will mutter under their breath. I love the parades and the celebration aspect, but for me, it’s the best feeling when you lock eyes with another gay person and their partner walking down the road who you know is feeling exactly the same as you.
‘It means celebrating where we have come from and where we are now.’ – I decided to ask my LGBT friends what they think Pride means. Pride is a good representation of how far our society has come, as recently as the ’70s, LGBT people were repressed in the UK, it’s only been 47 years since the UK’s first Pride parade, which only had 2,000 participants, nowadays our Pride Parades have on average 1 million attendees.
That’s a massive improvement in a short space of time, and that’s pretty awesome. It gives me hope for where the LGBT community will be when I am in my 70’s.
‘Pride for me is all about history. The fact pride was once a riot and holds a message of fighting for rights is getting glossed over by the commercialism of the pride events. They’re becoming concerts, for making money as opposed to a reflection on our history. It makes me kind of uncomfortable. When it’s just companies selling rainbow products with non-LGBT musicians performing for money it makes me feel odd.’
The Manchester Pride parade in 2018 was approximately 45 mins long. Unfortunately, this wasn’t because of the influx of LGBT support groups and sports teams we have, it was because of the companies. Phone networks and shopping centres all go before the support groups. Despite the fact that everything is coated in rainbows and the occasional trans flag, that is genuinely upsetting to me.
Despite the fact that LGBT people should feel supported by these companies, it doesn’t come across like this to some of us. It feels like a promotion that’s about the companies, instead of supporting those who need it. Consumerism ruins pride, and unfortunately, that’s a reflection of what our modern day society is like.
‘The first I think of when I hear Pride is an image of lots of people coming together to support equality, it’s like a giant equality alliance’. Despite the fact that the parades are littered with companies. There’s nothing like the atmosphere of 1000s of people all coming together and cheering for you.
Pride brings together all of the minorities, who are all there for the same reason. To show the people who may feel like the world around them doesn’t love them, feel love for one weekend.
‘Pride makes me angry, there shouldn’t be Pride because people are just people, regardless of gender, race and sexual preference. It makes me so angry to think that there are so many people in the world who are so bigotted. But I do love pride because I love to see people supported and being able to be themselves in a bubble of supportive people’. Although it’s sad that we do still need Pride month. Because the minorities shouldn’t need a special weekend to feel supported within their own city. It is very important that we have them.
In the UK there are 1 million LGB people. Which only accounts for those who are out and proud enough to make themselves known, out there-there will be many more people who aren’t comfortable with themselves, and it’s for these people that we need Pride.
So many people within the LGBT community are not supported in most aspects in their lives. It’s the best feeling seeing an LGBT friend who hasn’t been out for long at their first Pride Parade. It is liberating. It’s so those, young or vulnerable LGBT people who don’t feel the support that makes Pride so important. That supportive bubble that this comment mentioned saves lives.
‘And the love we have each other, Will defeat the hate we suffer. You’re my sisters, brothers, and all that’s in between. And if everything that I’m made of Was fashioned by your God above. It was Him that gave this kind of love to me. And that’s why we need pride’. I thought a nice way to end this blog, would be writing some lyrics from the great Grace Petrie.
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