Young voice: Kade on Pride Month

Reading Time: 5-10 Mins
Category: Blog
Author:  Kade Gibbs 

Pride month is over 50 years old; it is a month dedicated to celebrating LGBT+ communities around the world. The stonewall riots, taking place in June 1969, are the reason why we celebrate Pride month. It is a time for people to celebrate their identity, focusing on acceptance, equality, and celebrating the work of LGBT+ people. As a young queer person, coming out was a terrifying concept to me, often times believing that my identity was something that should be hidden, however, pride month is a reminder to most that our identity is not one of shame, and we should be proud of who we are. For example, in a survey carried out by the charity Just Like Us 72% of lesbians and 68% of gay men were confident their parents/carers would be accepting of them*1, however only 56% of LGBT+ individuals, according to a survey by GOV.UK felt comfortable being LGBT+ in the UK*2.

This shows us why it is important to celebrate pride month and those LGBT+ individuals before us who had the courage to speak out and be their authentic selves. Protests such as Stonewall, the GLF demonstration, and OutRage! give hope to young queer people, showing us that working together as a community allows us to create change.

A protest is a public demonstration expressing objection of something, usually an official policy or course of action, and has been used for centuries by people in order to have their voices heard. One of the most influential protests was the Stonewall riots on 28th June 1969, serving as a catalyst for the queer rights movement in the US and around the world. In 1969, it was illegal to engage in “homosexual” behaviour in public, such as holding hands, kissing, or dancing with someone of the same sex in the US. Therefore, police harassment of gay bars was not unusual, as many operated without liquor licenses. On 28th June 1969, police officers entered the club Stonewall Inn and arrested 13 people, including employees and people violating the state’s gender appropriate clothing statute. This led to many patrons of the club and neighbourhood residents, fed up with constant social discrimination, hanging around outside of the bar and within minutes a full-blown riot involving hundreds of people began, lasting for five more days sometimes involving thousands of people*3.

This was a galvanising event leading to many gay rights organisations, such as the Gay Liberation Front (GLF). Inspired by the Stonewall riots, the Gay Liberation Front held meetings in 1970, and quickly drew up a list of demands to show their determination to change a society which discriminated against LGBT+ communities. They created slogans such as ‘gay is good’ and ‘come out’ to encourage more people to be proud of who they are*4. On the 1st July 1972, the Gay Liberation Front organised the first pride demonstration in the UK, fighting for lesbian and gay equality and centred on the political side of equality*5. Another highly influential movement which fought against homophobia and focused on politics was OutRage!, founded in 1990 after the murder of gay actor Michael Booth, a prominent member being Peter Tatchell. OutRage! was a highly controversial movement, which involved outing public figures who were homophobic in public but gay in private and encouraged other public figures to come out. They also organised on average two non-violent protests every month*6, where many people were willing to be arrested.

 Now we celebrate Pride month every June; thanks to the courageous acts of those who took place in these protests, LGBT+ individuals are able to be their authentic self, and love freely. However, it is important to realise that many LGBT+ people still face hate and bias. Therefore, Pride month is important, not just to celebrate how far we’ve come, but to also show how strong and capable of change we are as a community full of love and Pride.









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