Pride Month has started! Whilst this is a time to celebrate, we are also seeing a concerted attack on LGBTQ+ rights in the UK. In particular, the trans moral panic has become more intense, hate crimes are rising and vital LGBTQ+ education in schools under threat.
I spoke to six LGBTQ+ stars and activists about Pride Month. I hope their words inspire you!
Fox Fisher (artist, author and filmmaker)
“In the face of relentless animosity towards trans individuals, let us rejoice in the milestones achieved for the LGBTQIA+ community in the past 12 months. From Spain’s empowering decision to allow trans people self-declaration, to Denmark’s progressive move to eliminate psychiatric diagnosis as a prerequisite for gender recognition – positive change is afoot. Not to be outdone, our American kin broadened transgender student protections under Title IX.
“Admittedly, the journey hasn’t been without setbacks, such as the ban of my book, Trans Teen Survival Guide, in Florida. Yet, the LGBTQIA+ community continues to thrive, with over 13 Trans Prides now united under Trans Pride UK and even a new Trans Pride in my adolescent stomping ground of Hastings. These strides forward kindle and heal my fabulously queer trans heart, serving as a testament to our community’s unwavering resilience and beauty. A very Happy Pride Month to you all, you lovely lot!”
Dr Ranj Singh (NHS doctor, TV presenter, author and columnist)
“Pride is a wonderful time for us all to come together and celebrate our true and beautifully diverse selves. But let’s take a moment to remember those who may be feeling left out or lonely. Though we are a community, there are still some of us who are marginalised or forgotten. And it is equally possible to feel lonely even when we are part of the crowd. That’s because the cure for loneliness isn’t companionship, it’s connection. So, let’s reach out and connect with someone who might be feeling lonely. We might just make their Pride a great deal better.”
John Galea (singer/songwriter)
“For me Pride Month is really important because, as a bi man and while there have been improvements in recent years, bi visibility is still low and sadly we don’t hear enough bi voices. Growing up in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, there were a lack of LGBTQI+ role models, not to mention bi role models. I’ve just released a new track and new music video called Don’t Wanna Die which draws on some of my experiences as a bi man growing up, finding himself through the plot of Romeo and Juliet. I hope that the music video increases awareness. This is also a month to show allyship across the entire LGBTQI+ community, from bi people to trans people and all the other beautiful communities. They all have my continued support 100%. It is only united and together that can we progress and move forward.”
Nancy Kelley (Chief Executive, Stonewall)
“Pride is about taking up space at the heart of cities and towns where we aren’t always safe, or welcome. It’s about taking up space in the media, in the arts, in politics: places where we are often commodified, but not always heard. It’s a demand that society take us as we are, recognising our shared humanity and our glorious, riotous difference. It’s always a protest. It’s always a party. Loving and celebrating ourselves is a radical act now, just as it was in the founding days of the movement, so I’ll see you all out there, standing loud and proud for our family all over the world.”
Valentino Vecchietti (Founder of Intersex Equality Rights UK, writer and artist)
“Every day, people across the globe contact me to ask about the Intersex-Inclusive Pride flag. They want to fly it from flag poles, put it on buildings, on crosswalks, in schools, hospitals, and fly it in stadiums. Making visible in cities and towns across the world that we are all welcome and included. In the current struggle, we can draw strength and hope from this. We can feel empowered to stand together and recognise that our beautiful, diverse, LGBTIQA+ community is loved!”
Peter Tatchell (Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation)
“I helped organise the UK’s first Pride, which took place in London in 1972 and have marched in every London Pride since. This year will be my 51st. I’ve witnessed huge changes, not all for the better. Many of the major city Prides have strayed far from the roots of Pride. They’re too commercial and depoliticised. LGBT+ human rights are no longer centre stage. They need to be. We are under sustained attack, especially trans people.
“The founding principles of the original LGBT+ Pride in 1972 were: LGBT+ visibility, the celebration of LGBT+ culture and the demand for LGBT+ liberation in the UK and worldwide. It was open to all who supported these core principles. Nowadays, in London, there are restrictions on the number of marchers and it’s more of a party than a protest. Why can’t it be both? The Pride parade should be by and for the LGBT+ community – and not dictated to by the city authorities or beholden to corporate funders. Their support is welcome but it must not overwhelm and dominate the event.”