Why Pride Is So Important To Me
As a straight woman I'm not sure I have the authority to talk about what it's like being part of the LGBTQ+ community, but Pride is important to me and challenging discrimination and celebrating the fabulous differences of people is something that I feel very passionate about.
Manchester's annual Pride celebrations kick off this week and it's a privileged to live in a city with such a vibrant gay scene. I very much love the party that sweeps across the city each August bank holiday weekend, but I'm not just there for the fun and the wider community should remember that Pride weekend is not just all about having a good time. There is still so much prejudice in this city and beyond so as fun as the celebrations are it's important to unite in a spectacle to remind us all we need to be more inclusive and accepting of one another.
I can walk down the street hand in hand with a boyfriend with no one so much as battering an eyelid and yet for many of my friends they're forced to conceal their affections for their betrothed as with it comes comments and stares and for some even violence.
I've had the honor of being involved in the Manchester Pride Parade for the last few years, and I can honestly say that walking through the streets of Manchester waving a giant rainbow flag is one of the best experiences of my life. I was so naive to think that fierce prejudiced no longer existed in this city, I was utterly shocked to witness protester among the spectators. To me there is nothing in this world more universal that love and to deny someone of their right to share in that is heartbreaking. It is not offensive or indecent for someone, anyone, to share their affection and happiness publicly (within reason obviously, I'm not talking about having sex in the street here!).
Being viewed as different and not knowing how someone might react to you being different must be a challenging way to live. I know myself how hard life can be sometimes but for LGBTQ+ people, they have a whole other dimension thrown in there to deal with. This certainly gives me some perspective on how much simpler everyday things such as starting a new job or meeting new people must be for me than some of my friends.
So to all my gay friends, I'm not just coming along to Pride for the party, I'm there to stand with you in the hope that one day you don't have a label, you are just you. I hope you're accepted for what you are.