Parent organisation of Community Links, Foundation and Bridging the Gap

Pride Month June 2023

PRIDE Month 2023

Pride Month is a tribute to those who were involved in the Stonewall Riots in New York in 1969.

The protestors demanded the establishment of places where LGBTQ+ people could go and be open about their sexual orientation without fear of arrest.

A year later, the first Pride March took place and was a catalyst for similar parades to take place across the world.

To mark Pride month this year, we spoke to members of our LGBTQ+ Network to hear what Pride means to them.

We spoke to Adam Kirkbride, Group Facilitator at Positive Choices.

What does Pride mean to you?
To me, Pride is about taking stock of how far we have come, but also how far we still have to go as a community of gay, trans*, lesbian, bi, and ‘queer siblings’. It’s about honouring the dead who fought and died to get us where we are and amplifying the voices of the living who will shape our future. Holding that balance can be difficult at times; we’ve come a long way in the last 100 years and that should be celebrated, but it’s important not to lose sight of the work we need to do. There’s a slogan that you often see at pride, “We march for the dead. We fight for the living.” To me, that says it all.

What is your favourite thing about Pride?
My favourite thing about Pride is the sheer abundance of ‘queer joy’. Being ‘queer’ can be incredibly lonely at times, but Pride reminds us that we are not alone, and that there are some pretty cool things about being part of this wonderful community! There’s something magical about being in the middle of a crowd of thousands of ‘queer people’ unashamedly living as themselves and LGBTQ+ allies proudly supporting them. LGBTQ+ individuals just want to be happy, free, and safe, like everyone else, and Pride gives us hope that one day we will always feel the magic that we can feel in the middle of a Pride parade.

Why is it important to recognise Pride Month?
Given the huge rise in transphobia in the UK currently, the safety of LGBTQ+ people feels incredibly precarious. Sometimes it is hard not to want to abandon ship altogether and move to another place where LGBTQ+ people are more accepted. That’s why it’s so important for services, companies, and individuals to not only acknowledge LGBTQ+ communities during Pride Month, but to come out swinging for LGBTQ+ safety all year round by creating safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people, having accessible service provision for us, and challenging discrimination of every type when it rears its ugly head. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

What are you going to do for Pride this year?
This year for Pride I am going to continue to fight for kindness and for better services for LGBTQ+ individuals. I’ll be attending various Pride events throughout the summer and spending time with my LGBTQ+ friends and family to remind them that we are not alone, and there is more than enough love to go around. It’s also important for ‘queer people’ to look after themselves at this time of year, so I will be making time and space for myself to recharge and remind myself that I am happy to be ‘queer’; I wouldn’t want to be any other way.

We also heard from Nicky Murmann, Housing Support Assistant at Our Way Leeds.

What does Pride mean to you?
I have been going to Pride for about 15 years and I think it is important to remember that the meaning of Pride changes over time. Pride can be political, depending on your identity, context, and country you are living in. Pride can be a party, a capitalist and performative space for companies and lobbies to ‘pretend to be allies’. Remember that Pride started as a riot. The Police raided Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, New York, on the 28th of June 1968. The raid sparked a six-day riot, led by people of color.

What is your favourite thing about Pride?
Going to the March and remembering that Pride started as a riot and still needs to be a protest, as injustice, discrimination and hate crimes against LGBTIQA+ people are increasing, especially towards the trans community. My favourite thing about Pride or protests is shouting full of anger that our lives are precious and feeling a sense of unity, being a part of a group, of a crowd, being surrounded by people that I love.

Why is it important to recognise Pride Month?
It is important to recognise our privileges as a part of the LGBTIQA+ community and thinking about intersections and what that means and supporting each other. We can fight back and fight against transphobia and oppressions in and against the LGBTIQA+ community or as allies, during all the year and not just during Pride Month. Pride helps us recognise and respect each other’s journeys linked to identity and gender, which can be fluid or not, and can start in your childhood, teens, early adulthood or later on. Remember that not everyone wants to be out or can be out and that everyone is valid in whatever they decide for themselves, whether that is to be out to their friends, to some people in their lives, or to everyone.

To find out more about activities and events going on throughout Pride Month and beyond you can click here.