Many Pride events were cancelled during 2020 due to the global pandemic, and some events have already been cancelled or postponed during 2021. Parades are a prominent feature of Pride month, together with events, fayres, awareness and campaigns. This in itself is a reflection of how far society have come, of those who stood up and took a stand, of the history and achievements, but also about how much there’s still to be done to achieve diversity and inclusion for all. Pride month is about diversity and inclusion for all.
Many see LGBTQIA+ Pride as a party, as an excuse to hit the streets, wear glitter and dance. But it’s so much more. Even the fact that in many countries is a celebration is in itself a massive achievement, a reflection of how far the community have come, of those who stood up and took a stand, of the history and achievements, but also about how far we still have to go. Pride started as a protest. Living in the UK is a privilege for some compared to other countries where being yourself is still illegal and punishable. Despite the legal rights progression, there’s still so much work that needs to be done in the UK; however, this can never be compared to the struggles that others are facing in their countries and cultures.
The global pandemic isn’t helping either, as various UK studies show that that LGBTQIA+ are reporting increase in: mental health, suicide, isolation, living in hostile home environments, domestic abuse and risk, sexual violence, homelessness, fear for safety, financial difficulties, concern about gender identity services, and increase in online hate, amongst others. On the other hand, a consultation run by Kaleidiscope Trust in 37 Commonwealth countries states that we “are witnessing an emerging humanitarian crisis for LGBTQIA+ people as government responses to Covid-19 leave vulnerable LGBTQIA+ communities at grave risk.”
Being a gay man comes with its difficulties as a minority group, however the fact that I’m considered as Caucasian is in itself also a privilege compared to other ethnicities (even though my olive skin and the fact that Mediterraneans were considered as a sub-race of Caucasians until the 1960s). I'm not perfect, I admit I'm part of the problem, and I am trying to educate myself and be more aware
And hence why I believe that this year we as a community and allies need to unite and lift our voices while amplifying others’ more than ever before. Not just about LGBTQIA+ rights, but about Black Lives Matter, systemic racism, microaggressions, trans rights, asylum seekers and many other issues that affect our society. Not just during Pride Month/Season and Pride day, but every day
History has shown us that our voices are louder if we speak together. We can’t be silent and complacent any longer. Let’s stand up. Let’s be vocal. Let’s listen. Let’s challenge ourselves and others. Let’s educate and be educated. Let’s protest. Let’s enact. Let’s be allies and activists. Let’s be active bystanders. Let’s respect. Let’s love and unite.
Pride is about all of us, together, daily! And as World Pride 2021 is calling upon us: #YouAreIncluded
Diversity and Inclusion Consultant