June is officially Pride Month. A time to promote equality, awareness and visibility to the LGBTQ community.
As we are living in the era of the coronavirus, traditional Pride events have been inevitably cancelled. It’s made me reflect on my own experiences of attending Pride events and what we all can do to commemorate and advocate this important month. Pride events are often seen as a celebration when in fact they are a form of activism. The genesis of Pride Month was a consequence of the Stonewall Riots. On 28th June 1969, members of the LGBT community at the Stonewall Inn finally reacted following a police raid. It became a seminal moment, spearheading the gay rights movement.
When I think back to my first Pride event in 2005, I was aware of its historical importance. I was part of an LGBT youth group in Manchester. Our job was to design a float that would subsequently be part of the Manchester Pride march. We were an overzealous group. A fearless tight unit. We were given a workspace to use at the Manchester Art Gallery to design our float under the supervision of one of the gallery workers. If I remember rightly, he was a bit of an interloper and often told us off for having our music on too loud. Despite having been teenagers, there was an emotional maturity amongst us. We all unpacked our experiences of bullying, prejudice and ostracization whilst working on our project.
In retrospect, our group became the manifestation of a collective. There were transgender teenagers, who felt safe in our environment, after having spent too long providing relentless explanations. Romantic relationships flourished in the run-up to the march and I also met my late friend, Zoe. Pride events eventually become imbued with your most meaningful memories. Living in a global pandemic may have thwarted many cultural and social events, however, it has provided an essence of community. We can use this month to keep on educating one another about what Pride Month means for many of us.
Education can be entertaining, and I recommend watching the Netflix documentary, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson. It follows the suspicious death of Johnson, a transgender activist in New York, whose body was found in the Hudson River in 1992. Additionally, Australian stand-up comedian Hannah Gadsby’s show Nanette, also on Netflix is a hilarious insight into Gadsby’s life. From coming out as a lesbian to being mistaken as a man, treating many taboo subjects with wit, dignity and intelligence. If none of the above whets your appetite, there is always Madonna.
Happy Pride Month readers!