So its late Spring and throughout many countries in the world Gay (LGB&T) Pride season starts. I still remember my first Pride in 1992. I was 23 and I had just come out a few months earlier. I had made some gay friends and they took me to London Pride. Where I lived and grew up in a small town, there were no Gay role models at that time, there was no internet, no apps etc so as far as I knew I was the only gay in the village. It was the early 1990s and LGB&T people were only beginning to be accepted in society, although there was still a lot of homophobia around, and here in the UK, the age of consent for gay men was 21.
Now I recall my excitement and amazement at just how many LGB&T people there were, just how many handsome gorgeous men were GAY! My heart burst open with excitement of all the opportunities for sex, romance, love and pleasure that were now possible for me (I was moving to London later that year to study) Anyway, only two things really marred that day, the homophobia from the Police on the march, their aggressive stance and body language and how amazing that just a few years later the Gay Police Association would lead the Pride March. The other was the homophobia we encountered when we got off at Brixton Tube to go to the event in Park. The street was lined with people who spat and called us Batty men. The event in the park was amazing and was mostly hosted by LGB&T popstars and activists and it was FREE! None of these boybands and popstars charging £50,000 to perform.
Straight people often ask, why Gay Pride? Why do we need to do this? Well remember that there are still many LGB&T people coming out, coming out in small towns and villages where they feel like the only gay person in the village. Some still experience discrimination and prejudice and are rejected by their families for doing so and society still has stereotypical images and perceptions of who LGB&T people are. In many ways, Gay Pride challenges that and for the newbies it’s a powerful reminder that they are not alone, that they have a whole new family of LGB&T brothers and sisters out there, with so many choices and support if they need it.
We also need to remember that in far too many countries, our LGB&T brothers and sisters face persecution, death, imprisonment and don’t have Pride marches to go on. They don’t have the luxury of marching down the street with rainbow flags and crowds of people waving them on and celebrating with them.
So this Pride season march is for them, March for the ones who are just coming out. For the ones in the closet and afraid to come out. March to acknowledge how far we have come and how much work we have to do to help free our LGB&T brothers and sisters around the world who live under homophobic and transphobic laws, tyranny and persecution.
Have a happy proud pride season.
Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock
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