Celebrating Pride month at ramsac: What is it and why do we have one?

As June starts, the vibrant colors of the rainbow flag start to adorn our streets, venues and social media feeds. Pride Month, an annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, holds immense significance in promoting equality, raising awareness, and fostering a sense of belonging. While Pride Month is typically associated with the LGBTQ+ community, it is essential for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, to understand and embrace the significance of this month-long celebration. LGBT Pride is more than just a celebration; it is a powerful and necessary movement that holds immense value for individuals within the LGBTQ+ community and society as a whole. While progress has been made towards equality, the need for LGBT Pride remains vital.

It is true to say that most of the laws that discriminated against LGBTQ people have largely been repealed here in the UK. It’s quite shocking how recent some of those changes have taken place however, the majority only being changed in the last 20 years. Even so, the playing field is not equal. Many members of the community still fear discrimination at work or in applying for work, and 1 in 5 LGBT people have reportedly been a victim of a hate crime at some stage in their lives. 13% have experienced discrimination in accessing healthcare, that’s percentage increases to 70% in the trans community, 30% of bi men and women say that they are unable to be open about their sexuality with their family or colleagues, and 35% of LGBT people say they hide their sexuality at work. 

Internationally, there are 67 countries that criminalise private, consensual sexual activity between people of the same gender, in 11 of those countries the punishment is the death sentence. As we stand here today, there are more than a dozen states in the USA that are proposing new laws to prevent schools being able to talk about anything to do with being gay, gay people, gay history or the fact that same sex relationships exist, and 17 EU countries do not recognise same sex unions such as marriage or civil partnerships and earlier this year, the Italian government actually reversed laws that previously recognised same sex parents, reversing a law that had been in place since 2018.

Why June?

The catalyst for Pride, dates back to the Stonewall riots in June 1969. The Stonewall Inn was a gay bar in Greenwich Village, New York. In the early hours of the 28th June, Police carried out one of their frequent raids on the pub, to arrest patrons of the establishment. When the Police became violent, the patrons fought back, and so began a watershed moment in LGBTQ history, the riots continued for several weeks and over that time, a new movement, The Gay Liberation Front, was born, travelling to the UK about a year later. The organisation organised a series of protest marches in New York, London and major cities around the USA and Europe, demanding for changes in the laws that threatened Gay and Transgender people with imprisonment. Over 50 years on, and these annual marches continue. Whilst for many, a Pride March is now a day of celebration and joy, at its heart, it remains a protest over discrimination, both at home and abroad.

Why Pride Month Matters:

  1. Promoting Inclusivity: Pride Month is an opportunity for individuals and organisations to demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity. By acknowledging and celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, we create a more welcoming environment for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Pride Month serves as a reminder that embracing diversity is not just about tolerance but also about actively accepting and supporting one another.
  2. Honoring History and Activism: Pride Month traces its roots back to the Stonewall Uprising in 1969. The struggle for equal rights and acceptance has been long and challenging, and Pride Month serves as a way to honor the activists who fought for the rights we enjoy today. By understanding the historical context, we can appreciate the progress made and recognise the work that still lies ahead in the pursuit of equality for all.
  3. Raising Awareness: While significant strides have been made in LGBTQ+ rights, there are still many challenges faced by the community. Pride Month allows us to shed light on these issues, such as discrimination, bullying, and mental health disparities. By increasing awareness and understanding, we can collectively work towards creating a more inclusive society and fostering empathy and support for those who need it.
  4. Creating Safe Spaces: Pride Month serves as an opportunity to create safe spaces where LGBTQ+ individuals can express themselves without fear of judgment or discrimination. By visibly supporting Pride Month, organizations send a powerful message that they are allies and advocates for equality. This, in turn, helps foster a sense of belonging and psychological safety for LGBTQ+ employees and colleagues, contributing to a more productive and harmonious work environment.

How Straight Allies Can Support Pride Month:

  1. Educate Yourself: Take the time to educate yourself about LGBTQ+ history, terminology, and the unique challenges faced by the community. Engage in conversations, read books, watch documentaries, and listen to personal stories to broaden your understanding and empathy.
  2. Be an Active Ally: Support Pride Month actively by attending events, parades, or activities organized by the LGBTQ+ community or your workplace. Display symbols of support, such as rainbow flags or pins, and encourage open conversations about LGBTQ+ topics. Stand up against homophobic or transphobic comments or behavior and create a safe space where everyone feels respected.
  3. Advocate for LGBTQ+ Rights: Use your privilege to advocate for equal rights and inclusive policies in your workplace and community. Support organizations and initiatives that promote LGBTQ+ rights and equality. Engage in discussions with friends, family, and colleagues to challenge biases and promote understanding.

Pride Month is a time for celebration, reflection, and allyship. By understanding the importance of this annual event and actively participating as allies, we can contribute to a more inclusive and accepting society. Let us embrace the vibrant colors of the rainbow and strive to create a world where everyone can live authentically and with dignity, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Together, we can make a difference.

Happy Pride Month!

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