LGBT+ Pride Is Still Necessary and It Isn’t Just for June, By Nora Latapi-Dean

Posted by: noralatapidean - Posted on:

What is Pride?

Unbeknownst to many, it is not simply a celebration of LGBT+ sexuality. It is a celebration of love, freedom, and acceptance. Its purpose is to spread hope, protest injustices and remember lives tragically lost in the never-ending fight toward equality. And though there has been progression with mainstream media, organisations, and individuals jumping on the rainbow wagon, it is crucial to understand why Pride exists in the first place and why it is still so relevant and necessary today.

Around the world, people are still being jailed, attacked, and killed for their sexuality. Gay relationships are still illegal in 72 countries; in eight countries, being gay is even punishable by death. In reality, homophobic hate crimes are not only a third-world country problem but a whole-world problem. Coincidentally, a few days ago, a deadly shooting happened in a gay bar in Oslo, Norway.

Regardless of progression in legislation, bigotry is very much alive in our society, with figures showing that hate crimes toward LGBT+ people in the UK are on the rise. It is vital to note that legalisation does not equate to acceptance – violent attacks on LGBT+ individuals, protests outside of primary schools against teaching children about the existence and acceptance of LGBT+ people, and the never-ending, toxic, and discordant debate on the rights of transgender individuals demonstrate this. 

The National Survey of LGBT+ experience in the UK, published in 2017, evidenced blatant inequalities between the LGBT+ community and their heterosexual counterparts. Life dissatisfaction, more mental health problems, and a lower quality of life are directly linked to fear and experiences of discrimination and ostracization.

What does this mean?

Arguments claiming that LGBT+ Pride is unnecessary because we already have equality are incorrect and misinformed. And the logic behind a claim that we need a straight Pride entirely misses the point that straight people have never been persecuted or ostracised for their sexuality. Equally, the notion that support for the LGBT+ community should only be during Pride month is also inappropriate. Yes, Pride month provides a fantastic opportunity to highlight and reflect on the inequalities, injustices, and violence the LGBT+ community faces daily. However, it is because of these long-established inequities and injustices that Pride and year-round support for our LGBT+ community is still a necessity today. 

True equality is impossible until every individual within the LGBT+ community feels welcome, heard, and represented. Now, more than ever, we must stand together as a community, as allies, and as compassionate human beings to protect and extend LGBT+ rights. We must refuse to accept prejudice and discrimination wherever it is. True change only comes about through true allyship and true allyship is a daily commitment. Pride is not just for June. 

You don’t have to be an expert to stand up and let someone know that their behaviours are problematic, but knowledge is power – for tips on how you can be an LGBTQ+ ally, visit 10 Ways to Be An LGBTQ+ Ally, How to be a good LGBTQ+ ally and 5 ways to be a straight ally in the workplace.

The South West NHS Leadership Academy strives to empower under-represented communities and we are committed to creating a learning and working environment which is inclusive of all our participants. We aim to eliminate any disadvantage based on age, disability, marriage, civil partnership, race, culture, religion or belief, lack of religion or belief, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, maternity or any other minority characteristics. We also welcome any general comments on the inclusivity of our events. We will work with you to address your concerns in a respectful, dignified manner. If you have any questions or comments please get in touch with our Positive Action Programmes Inclusion Coordinator.