We are in Pride month, a month to well…celebrate “gay pride”. Usually this would be the time when many “pride marches” take place up and down the country, with streets filled with glitter, rainbows and partying… What is there not to love about that? However this year is going to be rather different. It is likely that many feel pride has been cancelled, because many communities cannot get together. Yet if anything, I feel pride is needed more this year than before.
Whilst I know that there’s many people who believe that “pride” is not really necessary within our country because legally we are not faced with inequality any more. While some may question why we should be “proud” of our sexuality, when it is simply apart of who we are. Then some seem keen on a “straight pride”, thinking they have just as much reason to celebrate. But actually the inequalities regarding sexuality amoungst many other issues, are just as relevent now, regardless as to where you live, than ever before…
For a start, think about how recent these changes in rights have been. And this is for those of us who are lucky! Only in 2014 was it made legal for those of the same sex to marry one another! While only in 2001, the age of consent was lowered to the same age for homosexual couples to hetrosexual couples (which is 16). This just shows the extent of the inequity experienced by homosexual people in such recent times, even in socially liberal countries! Moreover in the USA, trans people aren’t allowed to serve in the military, due to being barred from doing so in April 2019, which pushed many out of it. This shows that there are many battles still to be won, concerning some of our fundamental rights.
While if you still consider us lucky, there are many who are having to conceal their sexuality or gender on a day to day basis, to those who they should be able to relay upon the most for confort and nurturing. Many sadly live in households, which are anything but accepting. With the prevaling fear that if they were to reveal who they are, they could be subject to disbelief, abuse or even disownement. This just proves how so many people who are part of this community cannot live and express themselves freely within our country, due to enourmous misjudgements and misconceptions which are still held today.
Furthermore considering the prevelent stories in the news within the last few days- concerning inequality- I cannot forget how priviliged I am. Firstly there are many countries in which simply being openly part of this isn’t allowed, let alone marriage. There are many countries where people would be subject to imprisionment for being LGBTQ+ and even life sentences. However if this isn’t bad enough, in Iran those openly gay can face the death penalty.
While LGBTQ+ African Americans continue to be extremely disadvanced, with a report conducted in 2012 finding that “32% of children being raised by black same sex couples live in poverty, compared to 13% of children being raised by hetrosexual black couples”. While obviously the last few weeks have shown that racism is still such a rampant problem, really all over the world- homosexuality is another factor which faces huge discrimination…
But what actually is the meaning of pride? Now I think it means something different to everyone, and is very open for intrepratation. However for me, it is to acknowledge how far the LGBTQ+ movement has come in achieving a fairer society for us, meanwhile acknowleding how much further we need to go torward achieving complete justice here and afar. It is a way of celebrating our diversity, when many have faced, or are facing persecution because of it. While normally it would be an occasion for many of us to come together, however this year it is more about doing so digitially (wihich has been the case concerning much else). I also think it is to provide a voice for those who are not able to openly celebrate or speak out, making our voice stronger to account for those who cannot be heard.
Now finally a message to anyone within, or to anyone who supports the LGBTQ+ community, there are obvioulsy many hideous views held by so many. However it is important to be fairly “soft” on these people, and rather than screaming about their poor understanding, educate them. Unfortunatly many people have been brought up into families or backgrounds whom hold very misjudged views on these matters, therefore others are likely to pick these up. While even within the LGBTQ+ community, there are varying biasies toward one another, which SHOULD NOT BE THERE! But the best way to overcome this, is to educate ourselves and to educate others.
Therefore I will conclude this on my hopes for the future. I hope that celebrations attributed to the LGBTQ+ community aren’t worn down in the next few years, as they are still equally as needed. To anybody within the community, or to anyone really fcing any kind of inequality, continue to stand your ground. The world is a place which should be accepting to all, and the world has room for everybody. Continue to educate others, continue to speak out- but most of all, continue to try and find comfort within yourself.