Many people ask, why do we still need Pride events? There are many reasons for why Pride is needed and so important today. Here's why we're celebrating Pride.
To start, Pride isn't just 'gay people' partying. It does involve celebrations but it includes everyone from the community, whether you are lesbian, trans, bisexual, asexual, non-binary, queer, or identify as someone outside the 'traditional norms'.
It's a way to come together and feel part of a strong community. It's a way to amplify those that need a voice. It's a way to educate. And it's a way to thank those who fought for the community and gave us what we have today.
The message is just as important today as it was when the first Pride matches took place in the 1970s. Sill in 2021 LGBTQ+ people are discriminated against. This year we had the news of an Iranian gay man, Alireza aged 20, who was murdered by his brother after he found out he was gay. There are still 72 countries that criminalise same sex relationships, 8 of which it is punishable by death. In a 4 year period there were 1,612 trans people killed across 62 countries.
You may think, 'but we're more tolerant in Britain and Europe'. True, but a Stonewall study in 2017 found that 1 in 5 LGBT people had experienced a hate crime in the previous 12 months, and that increased to 2 in 5 for trans people. 1 in 10 LGBT people experience online abuse aimed at their gender or sexual orientation. 50% of all LGBT students reported they frequently hear homophobic slurs when at school. Not to mention that when we were growing up there was not one mention of anything other than straight people during formal education. So it's important for us to set the example, show case LGBTQ+ people and normalise 'being different'.
For us personally, Pride also represents the ability to be yourself and feel comfortable with who you are. Everyone is there to support and uplift each other, no matter their background or preference. Everyone is celebrated. This creates an atmosphere that is unlike any other. It's special.
Dan marched in the London Pride parade with Stonewall Football Club, which he was part of for a number of years and the club still holds a special place in his heart.
Remember Heather Small asking "What have you done today to make you feel proud?". Just being you is something to be proud of!
James & Dan