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BLOG: What does Pride mean to me?

24 June 2021

By Elizabeth (Network Homes staff member)

LGBTQ+ Pride Month is well known for its numerous, iconic events containing exceptionally vibrant features and groups of people. These are big celebrations filled with laughter, joy, drag-artistry and mutual support for all walks of life. With all this celebrating its easy to forget the ‘roots’ of how Pride Month came to be. One word … Stonewall. 

The Stonewall riots of June 1969 began outside the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City. They were caused by a raid by the police which resulted in employees and members of the community being ruthlessly assaulted unnecessarily. These acts of violence had been all too common for the Gay population of New York, and they’d had enough.

The riots acted a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world with members of the LGBTQ+ community unifying over the constant and unfounded discrimination, they faced on a regular basis,

Having learnt about the struggles the community faced, I welcome the vibrant events like London Pride Parade, Manchester Pride Dag Ball and Liverpool’s Pride Vogue Ballroom event.

Why me?

So, by this point you might think why me, why am I, a heterosexual woman, writing a blog on gay rights and Pride.

Firstly ….why not me? I believe we should all stand up, support each other, and all our communities regardless of their colour, creed or culture.

The second reason I’m writing this blog is I am an ally. My eldest son is a gay man (pictured here with Miss Whiplash). He is called Josh and he came out to me at 15 years old. Austin (his dad) and I have always been immensely proud and supportive of our son, like any parent should be

My parents are supportive of my son and his sexuality but the in laws less so and they have only recently learnt that Josh is gay. It makes me sad that prejudice still exists, it hurts me but sadly Josh is resigned to this, like a lot of the LGBTQ+ community.

He has faced verbal assaults on the streets of Manchester regardless of if he was in city centre, the outskirts or even upon occasion in the gay village. There are parts of the city he won’t visit on his own for his own safety due to his sexuality. A sad thing in this day and age.

So, what of Josh? He’s currently training to become a psychiatric/mental health nurse, something he is passionate about. This is just as well really because so far, he has experienced assaults and verbal altercations on numerous occasions, some of which were targeted to his sexuality. But this doesn’t alter his commitment for helping his patients. He intends to work on child and teenage mental health wards when he qualifies because he wants to work with kids with mental health issues, the majority of whom identify as LGBTQ+.

Have I celebrated and been part of Pride?

Absolutely and I can honestly say Pride was one of the most uplifting and vibrant events I have ever been to. I went back in July 2017. I was stood at the top of Regent Street near TopShop on a bright summer’s day. I got there early to get a good spot as my husband was part of the Pride March as he was in the Scouting Movement and they had a float.

Imagine the biggest local carnival you have ever seen. Floats came by with music, fantastic outfits, gifts and joyous shouting. Such a wide range of floats including: the army, the Royal Marines, the police NHS, Barclays, you name it! They were there. It went on for over an hour and even though my feet were aching I didn’t want to leave.

I saw my husband and amazingly he saw me, and I was able to meet up with him at the end. I was so proud of him. We still talk about the event now and will definitely go again to join in the celebrations.  If you want a fantastic afternoon and evening out then please do go and join the celebrations.

Please remember to always be kind and treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself. See the actual person who is stood before you for who they are in that moment, not the people you associate and stereotype to their sexuality.

If you only take one thing from reading this blog make sure it is this!

To have pride is to live.