Let’s talk about Pride. While I have enjoyed the event in Brighton both times that I’ve been now, I am conflicted with how I feel overall and I’m hoping that this post will help me to articulate these feelings. These are just my thoughts, and I’d be open to respectful discussions if your opinions differ from mine.
First of all, I want to start by acknowledging the privileges I have. I live in a country in which I am free to be who I am, and while there are still issues, my identity is not illegal or a reason to be killed. I am also lucky enough to live in Brighton which is for the most part an open-minded town and there is an LGBTQ+ community to be part of.
I think that it’s important to bring this up because most of my thoughts are around this. Pride is a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and how far we’ve come. This year is 50 years since the part decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK and it was touching to see some of the parade dedicated to this. It is important to include things like this so that we don’t forget the progress that has been made. As a young person, I have not had to suffer the injustices that other people before me had to endure, and acknowledging the history is a reminded not to take my freedom for granted.
My problem is that with all the celebration, it can give the impression that the fight is over.
There are still LGBTQ+ issues that need to be addressed. Trans and non binary people do not have the same rights as cis individuals. From forms and bathrooms to bigots and transphobia, there are a lot of problems out there. I don’t want to speak for trans people here as I do not have the same experiences they do, but I did want to highlight my point.
Furthermore, while homosexuality has been decriminalised in the UK, there are still countries around the world where this is not the case. There are still some countries in which it is frowned upon to be who you are. In places such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan being gay is punishable by death. I think that this needs to be part of the conversation, and I’m glad to see that there were some signs about it this year, but more needs to be done. Until there are the same rights for everyone, everywhere, how can we claim to have equal rights?
Additionally, it felt as if most of the Pride celebration focused on the first two letters of the acronym. This is not exclusive to the event, but it would be nice to be more inclusive to other identities too. As well as rainbows, we could have bisexual and pansexual flags, asexual and aromatic acknowledgement, non-binary, trans and agender colours. There’s a whole range of identities out there, and it’s about time that we had more representation of that.
This is all without the mention of how commercialised the Pride celebrations are. Most of the floats within the parade are from big corporations. I really want to believe that they are there to support their LGBTQ+ staff members and the community, but most of it feels like marketing. One float that stood out last year was the Pepperami one which didn’t appear to have anything related to the community at all. With the festival part, there are far more bars than there are support stalls and at least to me when I went, it just felt like an excuse for people to get drunk.
While I do think we need to take time to celebrate the progress that has been made, I think more needs to be done at these events to continue to fight for LGBTQ+ rights both here and abroad.