Pride’s annual parade is about to arrive in London, marching through the heart of the West End in a loud and proud celebration of everything the community has achieved in the past year, of how far they’ve come, and to shout about what’s still needed.
It’s a day of joy, of glitter and colour and love, but it is far from just a party.
Pride is a platform for the LGBT+ community, to raise awareness of LGBT+ issues and campaign for the freedoms the community requires in order to live their lives on an equal footing.
It’s also important to mention that Pride is run entirely by volunteers. That means that this huge movement has been brought about by people who are passionate enough about changing lives for the better that they give up their spare time, in a way that is truly inspirational.
This year is a particularly poignant year, as it marks 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK.
Those 50 years have brought about a lot of change and Pride has already achieved so much. However, as the Pride team itself says, ‘we face daily reminders that the global battle for true equality is far from over, and rights hard won can be threatened, attacked and taken away.’
The Pride team says: ‘We exist to continue to fight for true equality and challenge prejudices that the LGBT+ community still sadly face on a daily basis.’
How you can get involved
1. Inform yourself
Before you rush into turning up to Pride’s parade on July 8 assuming it’s all a big excuse to wear glitter and get drunk, read about it. There is a lot out there to learn, so read about Pride’s history, about what it means now.
Summed up by this brilliant iNews article:
‘You are welcome to celebrate Pride, but here’s the thing: you should go to Pride because you want to support and raise up the marginalised groups united by Pride.’
It adds: ‘Everything fabulous about Pride–music, dance, drag, hell even fetishwear–is designed to make life more fun, but it’s all about hitting that sweet spot between celebrating pain and banishing it too. Ours is a community that found art in the shadows, that learned to embrace our sexuality and our dark sense of humour alongside couture fashion and camp. Everything you see at Pride is totally fabulous, and everything you see at Pride is a part of how we got through the really dark years that some of us never have to live through again.’
Reading that article is a great place to start, particularly if you’re straight and want to ensure you support Pride in a sensitive way.
So, get Googling and learn about the movement, and why its achievements should be celebrated.
Some particular favourites include the special edition Love Happens Here clothing, badges, temporary tattoos and much more.
It may be too late to volunteer for this year’s Pride fortnight, but get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can get involved throughout the year.
4. Get political
Check out this pledge for politicians, and read through the list of politicians who have already signed it. If you can’t see your MP’s name there, why not get in touch with them and give them a nudge?
A key part of Pride’s openness, inclusivity and accessibility is that it’s completely free to attend. But, that means the £750,000 needed for it to go ahead each year has to be raised from sponsors and individual donors.
So, click here, dig deep and donate what you can.
6. Download the app
The Pride team have created an app to help you plan your perfect Pride experience–to make new friends and to try something new at events.
One particular highlight of the app is being able to browse and learn more about the groups marching in the parade. Another is the amazing idea of pinning personal moments from hundreds of LGBT+ Londoners to prove that love really is everywhere in this marvellous city.
Find it on the App Store or Google Play, or click here for more information.
7. Sing along
Head over to Amazon and get yourself three hours and nine minutes’ worth of tunes that you can sing, dance and celebrate to.
8. Get out there
Because this is London, there are of course a myriad of events that you can enjoy with Pride, from theatre and gigs, to art exhibitions and film screenings.
And this isn’t just for Pride fortnight either, you get to enjoy a lot of these events for months to come. So click here and fill up your diary.