We spoke to Lancs LGBTQ+ students about what pride month means to them
‘The community, especially during pride month really lets me be me, unashamedly queer’
The first of June is the start of pride month. June is the month in which celebrations occur globally as a way of recognising the influence LGBTQ+ people have had around the world.
For those of you wondering, why June? Pride month takes place in June due to the Stonewall Riots that took place way back in 1969. The Stonewall uprising took place in the context of a broader civil rights movement, as The Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention in 1970 was a key moment in which activists from Black Power, feminist and gay liberation movements came together, found a common cause and learned from each other.
In the world of 2020, we are still learning from each other. After the death of George Floyd, protests for the cause of Black Lives Matter have risen across America, the UK and Europe. It has been pointed out that The LGBT+ community would be nothing without queer black people. Pride month 2020 is about love and hope, something in which the entire world is standing for right now.
As to kick off celebrations for Pride Month, The Lancaster Tab asked LGBTQ+ students simply: What does Pride Month mean to you?
David, Computer Science and Mathematics
“For me it’s raising awareness that it’s not a bad thing if someone is LGBTQ+ and that we shouldn’t be treated differently then other people just because of our sexual or gender identities.”
“Without Pride Month, I really don’t believe that I would have grown up with any knowledge of a community that gives me the space to be valid. I would never have found the confidence to acknowledge my sexuality, let alone come out, without it.”
Imogen, English literature and religious studies
“Pride Month to me, means visibility & expression of the self. I remember going to my first pride parade when I was 17 and I cried at how overwhelmingly themselves people were. Having a month dedicated to awareness & celebration is so important and makes me feel worthy. Though I do wish it was less commercialised by big companies & more intersectional – things that I believe we as a community are working hard towards.”
Beth, English lit and creative writing
“To me, Pride Month is a time when I get to see people like me in the media again. For straight people, I can understand why they don’t get the importance of Pride Month and that’s because they don’t know what it feels like to be lost and to feel broken in such an intimate way. Pride Month is about taking control of the media and reaching out to the LGBTQ+ kids who don’t have the resources or the access to find others like them, themselves. It’s about plastering rainbows everywhere and telling people it’s okay to be like this.
“I think this Pride Month more than any for a long time is especially important because thousands of vulnerable LGBTQ+ people are trapped in abusive households, group homes or on the street and they need that support from their community. In a controversial opinion, I revel in the fact that huge companies start using the rainbow sign in their advertising.
“Of course, I agree that any profits generated from use of the LGBTQ+ flag should go to those charities but it means so much more than that. It means that huge capitalist companies have noticed that LGBTQ+ people and allies actually make up a significant majority. Even capitalism doesn’t want homophobes now. That means something about how homophobia is being torn out of the mainstream. That’s ace.”
“The community, especially during Pride Month really lets me be me, unashamedly queer. It’s helped me find who I am, and find a lot of great friends. Sadly I’ve never been to a pride parade; this year was going to be my first. Although I’ve heard lots of good things about them, and how the atmosphere is so amazing, affirming and validating. We’re here, we’re queer, we shouldn’t have to live in fear.”
“I’m hiding the fact I want to identify as female and it has been that way for a long time now. I’m also hiding the fact I am bi. Seeing all the pride stuff every year gives me hope that I’ll eventually feel comfortable to come out. Each year I feel closer and closer to finally doing it! Pride Month gives me the hope that I might finally get the courage to come out.”
Mathew, English language and creative writing
“Pride to me is the month for a celebration of yourself and your identity without fear or shame- it’s the month of loving yourself and others regardless of who they are. However, even though a lot of the fight has been won there is still a lot to do, we must remember that the fight isn’t over for equal rights, and also remember who got us this far.
“In such an important time in the world, Pride Month can highlight that black trans women and black drag queens started the riot that has gotten pride to where it is, now more than ever we must come together and help the black community with solidarity and support, lifting their voices as they have for us. The first Pride was a riot and we must celebrate our achievements and continue the fight to live freely as who we are.”
Eleanor, English language
“Pride Month gives validation and acceptance to all those included in LGBTQ+. Not only has it shared the history of the community but also helped shape society into a more accepting state. Yes, there is still a lot of hate, but Pride Month has allowed us in the LGBTQ+ community to gain a voice and be heard, as well as, unite and make friends.
“Pride Month has also helped us gain a following of those who don’t necessarily fit into this criteria, helping us to gain an even stronger voice. It helps those who don’t feel like they have anyone to turn to, to feel accepted and know they do have a community where they WILL fit in and will always have a voice. It gives us a sense of belonging and a reason to no longer hide who we are, regardless of gender and/or sexuality, let’s face it, labels are for clothes.
“Pride Month allows us to make known what it is to be accepted and the NEED to be accepted. It helps people understand that even though progress has been made, there is still so so so far to go. It also pays tribute to those who risked everything to help us get to where we are today, such as Marsha P. Johnson. Pride Month is about sharing the love and acceptance, whilst informing people on the changes which still need to occur.”
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