From the outside in, Pride may appear like a spectacle of glitter, alcohol and rainbow flags…i.e, a fabulous party. Some may question the need for pride in today’s understanding and accepting world. But for some, today is not understanding. Today is not accepting. Today homosexuality is still a criminal offence in 72 countries. Today members of the LGBT community were kicked out of their homes. Today LGBT people committed suicide, or contemplated suicide. Rainbows come from storms.
Behind the glitter and the rainbow flags, and all the fabulously out and proud queer people who flock to the streets in the name of pride, lies an anger. Pride goes back to 1969, when the patrons of a New York City bar fought back against a discriminatory police raid, these were the Stonewall Riots and marked probably the biggest milestone in LGBT rights. Pride started as a riot. On June 12th 2016, 49 people were shot and killed at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, and 53 others wounded. The shooting was the deadliest in American history and sparked a conversation about the dangers and discrimination queer individuals face on a day-to-day basis. Today, pride remains a riot.
Every summer people of all genders, sexualities and ethnic backgrounds unite in the streets during the parades and the parties, and it is so important that we continue to do just this. Pride in Manchester is one of the longest running in the country and attracts thousands of visitors to Manchester’s gay village, Canal Street, each year. To some, Pride is the only chance they have to be completely and utterly their authentic self. To others it is a celebration of everything they have conquered and everything they are. Straight people unite and declare alliance to their LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters. It is a time where we celebrate love and equality and scream ‘Love is Love’ as loud as our lungs allow.
It is important to remember the rich history of Pride. It is important to educate yourself with the history of LGBT rights. It is important to be proud of everything that you are. Pride is a time to do this.
So, if you are looking for a party, or another festival to add to your summer list, and think Pride is just another booze-up, remember what Pride is, what Pride represents, and how much Pride means. Remember that it is a time where we join together and spread love for anyone and everyone and is no place for discrimination. This year, London Pride was hijacked by a TERF group of feminists attacking Trans people – and people question why we still need Pride?!
For as long as the LGBTQ+ community exists, so will Pride. Pride is a safe-space, and will always remain a safe-space for all. Pride is a safe-space that is vital to this wonderful community. Pride is about visibility. Pride is about screaming in the face of discrimination and ensuring our rights to be who we are.
Pride is a riot.
Pride is a revolution.