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Pride Month: Celebration, unity and solidarity

Last modified: 9 July 2021 at 10:56am

Our LGBTQ+ network co-chair, Stuart Henderson explains the significance of Pride:

June is Pride month – a month dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ+ communities all around the world. Pride is about communities coming together in celebration, protest, unity and solidarity.

Pride is usually celebrated with big parades and marches, but with social distancing restrictions still in place because of the coronavirus pandemic, things will be a little different again this year.

Even though in recent years, laws and attitudes promoting equal rights for LGBTQ+ people have made significant progress in the UK, there are still many LGBTQ+ people subjected to abuse, harassment and who have to deal with inequality. It is still illegal to be gay in some parts of the world and in others LGBTQ+ people are oppressed. Campaigners continue to work hard to ensure equal rights for all LGBTQ+ people all over the world.

The first Pride event took place in London in July 1972, with about 2,000 people taking part. The event was heavily policed and was created as a response to the Stonewall Riots that occurred in New York in 1969. In the early hours of one June morning, there was a police raid at Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. Raids such as these had become fairly common as at the time the police were arresting people for doing drag or wearing clothes that didn’t align with their perceived gender.

However, this raid was different, it triggered rioting that saw members of the LGBTQ+ community fighting back against the police for three nights. These riots can be seen as an explosion of frustration within the LGBTQ+ community in response to the increasing antagonism towards them. Not only did the Stonewall Riots ignite LGBTQ+ activism in the US, but they also led to the birth of Pride and LGBTQ+ activism movements across the world.

Many legislative changes have been pushed forwards by Pride and LGBTQ+ activism. Below are some important dates of LGBTQ+ legislation around the globe and although this is not an exhaustive list by any means it shows that much of the progression has only occurred in recent years:

1992: WHO declared that homosexuality was not an illness.

2001: The Netherlands became the first country to officially recognise same-sex marriage.

2002: Homosexuality decriminalised in China.

2002: Gay people allowed to adopt children in the UK.

2005: Civil partnerships allowed in the UK.

2010: Gay people allowed in the US military.

2010: Equality Act came into effect Equality Act 2010 (legislation.gov.uk).

2013: Same-sex marriage legalised in England and Wales.

2014: Same-sex marriage legalised in Scotland.

2020: Same-sex marriage legalised in Northern Ireland.

The Pride celebrations were particularly significant in 2017 as it marked the 50-year anniversary since homosexuality was decriminalised and it stopped being illegal for two men to be in a relationship in England and Wales. The law changed in Northern Ireland and Scotland much later, but it was never illegal for two women to be in a relationship.

Over the Pride Season, we come together in our communities and on our streets and we come together in our schools and workplaces to show solidarity and fight for the freedom of every LGBTQ+ person. We celebrate who we are, we celebrate progress but most importantly we look to the future to ensure we can shape a world where everyone is free and safe to be whom they really are.

Read on to see quotes from North Yorkshire Police and staff about what Pride means to them:

“I take Pride in the fact we have come a long way, however there is still work to be done to enable our community to have no fear in been the person they want to be”

“Pride is about giving people the confidence to be themselves”

“Pride to me is offering a safe space for people to be themselves! It’s a place where all can come and celebrate how far we’ve come.”

“Pride is about being accepted for being you without having to explain or answer the comment you don’t look gay.”

“Pride is about recognising everyone has the right to be themselves and to love whom they love”

“Pride is about remembering the fight we endure everyday just to be treated fairly.   Things have get better over the decades but the fact we still have hatred towards people because of their sexuality demonstrates we still have a long way to go”

“Pride is about demonstrating we will not be beaten and we will support all LQBTQ+ individuals around the world – we will stand for equal and fair rights for all and will never give up trying to change the mind-set of the ignorant”

“Pride is about rainbows – who doesn’t love a rainbow”

“Pride is about being proud”

“Pride to me is a chance to come together as a community, celebrate our similarities and differences and stand together against hate in the fight for equality”

“Love should never mean having to live in fear”

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