Throughout the month of June, we saw the world both online and off celebrating Pride. As preparations are full swing for the celebrations and marches to hit the streets across the UK this weekend onwards, we look back at the origin of Pride – and why we still need it.
High profile brands like Google, Pinterest and Coca Cola temporarily changed their logo to the LGBTQ+ colours, making us all aware they want to be seen to be celebrating equality, regardless of your sexual preference.
Some cynics might say Pride is a perfect profile-raising opportunity for any business as Sonia Thompson writer for Inc.com discussed in her article The biggest mistake brands make in Pride month.
Others would argue that finally we live in a society where the LGBTQ+ community is fully embraced and celebrated in the mainstream.
Is LGBTQ+ maintstream yet?
The very fact that we still allocate one time in the year when the LGBTQ+ community can claim a safe place to celebrate who they are as humans, tells another story.
This ‘safe place’ is something we can’t forget and is still a much-needed outlet for many of the LGBTQ+ community, and one of the reasons Pride started in the first place.
Despite the brightly coloured, highly glittered, welcoming vibe of the usual Pride marches – if there is such a thing – Pride’s origin holds a much darker side to it.
The Stonewall Riots
2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which helped fight homophobia, transphobia, and campaigned for equal rights around the world.
During the 1960s, being gay was classified as a mental illness in the United States and being a gay man was considered a crime right up until 1967 in the UK. Gay people were regularly threatened and beaten by police, and shunned by many in society. One gay bar in New York, The Stonewall Inn, was raided several times by police, often resulting in its occupiers being thrown out onto the street and beaten.
So, they decided to fight back.
Protesters at the Stonewall riots in New York 1969.
This landmark event triggered a week of protests and rioting by people from the LGBTQ+ community, who were fed up of being harassed by the authorities. News of the riots spread around the world, and this inspired others to join protests and rights groups to fight for equality. A month after the riots, the first openly gay marches took place in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles demanding equality. A few years later in 1972, the UK held its first Pride March in London.
This year also marks 30 years since UK based charity Stonewall was founded. Inspired by the 1969 riots in the United States, it was set up by a small group of people who had been active in the struggle against Section 28 of the Local Government Act and is now the leading charity that campaigns for the equality of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people across Britain.
In 2017, Peter Tatchell – a gay rights campaigner – told Newsround:
“We have made fantastic progress. Compared to two decades ago, Britain is almost a different country. All the main anti-gay laws have been abolished. We are now one of the best countries in the world for gay equality.”
However, he goes on to say
“We still have too much homophobic hate crime, many kids are still bullied and a lot of schools don’t have an anti-bullying programme that specifically addresses anti-gay issues. There is big progress, but more needs to be done.”
Bourne Free Pride March in Bouremouth last year.
If you are looking to reach out for support here are some links for national help with coming out and mental health for LGBT+ members
Dorset support links for LGBTQ members
This is Space project works with young people in Dorset who are LGBTQ+ or who just have questions they want to discuss.
Bournemouth based Over the Rainbow give advice, support, and medical help to the LGBTQ+ community in Dorset.
Dorset Mind offers support for mental health, and have specialists for LGBTQ+ members who want to talk about health, gender, and sexuality
LGB&T Dorset Equality Network are all round helpful campers!
Pride Marches 2019
Celebrations are happening all over the United Kingdom – see here for the full calendar.
If you want to come along and join a Pride celebration here are the details of some main ones both in larger city areas and locally:
6 July 2019
13 July 2019
13 July 2019
27 July 2019
Weymouth & Portland Pride
What’s next for Pride?
We have come a long way since 1969 but as Peter Tatchell says, we have a long way to go.
Pride is a time to celebrate yes but it is also a time to reach out, a time to remember and to build a better future together.
How? By talking and asking important questions. Hear us discuss why there is always a place for Pride in our latest Women Know Your Place podcast episode below: