Why is Pride important?

Thursday 17th May 2018 saw many people worldwide show their support for the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOTB). The aim of the day was to “draw the issues faced by LGBT people across the world to the attention of decision-makers, the media, local authorities and the public.” In Wales alone, those in the LGBT+ community are faced with challenges, not least including homophobic hate crime. To highlight this, the following statistics were taken from the Senedd Research blog:

“A 2017 YouGov survey of 1,200 LGBT people in Wales, undertaken for Stonewall Cymru, found that:

  • The number of lesbian, gay and bi people in Wales who have experienced hate crime has increased by 82% in five years, from 11% in 2013 to 20% in 2017;
  • Half of transgender people (52%) have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months;
  • One in ten LGBT people (11%) have experienced homophobic, biphobic or transphobic abuse or behaviour online directed towards them personally in the last month, this increase to one in four trans people (24%), and
  • Four out of five LGBT people (82%) who experienced a hate crime or incident did not report the incident to the police.”

Further afield, a UK wide based report showed that:

  • One in 10 LGBT people (10 per cent) who were looking for a house or flat to rent or buy in the last year were discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity;
  • One in six LGBT people (17 per cent) who visited a café, restaurant, bar or nightclub in the last 12 months have been discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

From these shocking statistics, we have to ask ourselves what we should be doing to counter this hate crime and discrimination.

Pride events celebrate LGBT+ lives, culture and pride itself. At times, these events also serve as demonstrations for legal rights for the LGBT+ community. These events take place all over the world. In Europe, they happen in cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, and Milan. In the UK, our most notable Pride events include London, Birmingham and Manchester; however they also take place in smaller towns and cities including Cardiff and Reading. At the beginning of May 2018, Swansea Pride was held at The Waterfront museum – an informative and entertaining event. Ahead of the Swansea Pride event earlier this month, I had the chance to catch up with one of the organisers, Elliott King, about the importance of Pride events both here in Swansea as well as nationwide…

“We’ve come a long way in terms of LGBT+ rights, however there is still a lot of work to be done surrounding trans rights, so it’s important to be able to campaign for better rights for trans people especially.”

Furthermore, the LGBT+ community is “bigger than one person or one group and sometimes it’s hard to remember that. It’s a world of people who are often rejected and attacked for being who they are, expressing themselves in ways that feel right, and loving who they can’t help but love. Pride events — specifically Pride parades — are about visibility and creating a sense of belonging for people who may not have it. It’s about giving hope to people who may feel that life will never get better. Pride can mean so many things all at once, making it nearly impossible to describe or sum up.” Such events are also “a place of solace and a place of safety for many of these people. It’s an open door to new possibilities. It is proof that people like them are loved exactly as they are by other people, and that being LGBT+ isn’t synonymous with being alone.”

As a slight side note, it has only in the past couple of weeks been announced that the UK will push forward with LGBT+ inclusive sex and relationship education in schools. Maybe, many of us are asking why this is only just happening now, in 2018? However, it is Wales that is set to become the global leader with this LGBT+ inclusive education in schools. According to a recent article from The Guardian, “Wales could soon be ‘leading the way’ in relationship and sex education (SRE) in schools after announcing an overhaul of its curriculum. The changes, which include the subject being renamed relationships and sexuality education, were announced by Wales education secretary Kirsty Williams, who said the days of traditional sex education were “long gone”. In a departure from the traditional teaching approaches, and coming 30 years after the introduction of its teaching, which banned the “promotion of homosexuality in schools”, the subject will be LGBT inclusive. It will also focus on wider issues such as consent, domestic abuse and respecting diversity. It will form a statutory part of, for all children aged from 5 to 16 and will be embedded across the curriculum rather than taught as a separate subject.” In recent years, it has been rightly said that “Pride is incredibly important in teaching young people something that school, for the most part, does not – that love is not only legal and accepted between anyone, but beautiful and encouraged.”

An interesting thing that I discovered recently is Digital Pride. Digital Pride is “the only global Pride” and their #MillionsOfUs message says that all LGBT+ people around the world “deserve freedom, equality and protection.”

To quote Canadian actress Ellen Page, “This world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort to be less horrible to one another.

 

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