It’s been half a century since the grim New York night that started the global LGBT+ movement.
June 28th1969, after decades of state-endorsed persecution, the LGBT+ community at the New York Stonewall Inn had had enough.
They chose to rise up against the inequality and oppression they’d long endured.
This year, we celebrated the Stonewall Riots’ Jubilee Anniversary – 50 years of activism, protests and victories. It was named the theme of numerous Pride events all around the world.
But despite Pride’s tumultuous origins, it’s always been about LGBT+ people celebrating their authentic self.
For years, Pride was the only safe place many could do this in public, shielded by the support of their community all around them.
So, this year’s Pride celebrations aimed to commemorate the milestones that paved the way for the LGBT+ rights we have today.
From the infamous shot glass thrown by Marsha P Johnson on the night of the Stonewall Riots, to the repealing of Section 28 in 2003 in UK law.
Just this year after Pride in London, we marked another milestone – LGBT+ history maker, Alan Turing, was named the new face of the £50 note.
Nonetheless, every year, Pride month suffers some backlash.
One question that often arises is: “Why’s there no straight Pride?”
To those who would ask that, I would ask they stop and think about this for a minute.
Have you ever held your partner’s hand and been verbally or physically abused for it?
More than 21% of LGBT+ people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Have you ever checked before booking a holiday to see if the destination is ‘safe’ for you and your partner to share a room?
In over 70 countries, national laws criminalize same-sex consensual relations and other forms of gender expression.
So, yes, you should absolutely be proud of who you are.
In fact, I actively encourage it.
But we all need to remember that, despite the progress that’s been made, LGBT+ Pride still serves an important purpose.
We need it to raise the visibility of the community and highlight that inequality is still prevalent in the world.
Pride is about profiling the importance of authenticity – so one day, everyone can be themselves without fear of discrimination.
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