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What Pride month really means

Celebrate Pride

The celebration of Pride in cities around the world has become something most of us are familiar with and consider ourselves largely informed about. But what do we really know about Pride and where it began?

Do we understand the events and people who paved the way for the promotion of equality and acceptance of the LGBTQIA community? And truly, do we recognise why it’s so crucial that we continue to support and promote the mission of Pride?

We decided to take a few moments to better arm ourselves with the history and individuals that have brought the Pride movement to where it is now.

Start with Stonewall

The month of Pride is set to commemorate the historical Stonewall Riots that broke out in June 1969. For decades, the LGBTQIA community in New York had been persecuted and brutally treated by the NYC Police ‘Public Moral Squad’. One night in June, two police officers raided the Stonewall bar demanding to check the ‘sex’ of the customers by physical examination. The uprising began in response. The riots that started became the ‘Gay Liberation’ movement prompting conversations about the lives and perceptions of the LGBTQIA community and pushing for changes to the way individuals were treated.

One year later, Brenda Howard, a bisexual activist, organised the first Pride event in June 1970. Originally called the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, it was both a celebration and a protest. As the second gathering rolled round the next year, similar events began to take place across the globe. Pride as we now know it, had begun.

What are we fighting for?

At its core Pride is a movement for recognition, for equality and for liberty. From countries legalising homosexuality to the pursuit of political and personal rights, the recognition of same sex unions and families and the fundamental fair treatment of all LGBTQIA communities.

As the Stonewall Charity acknowledges, “there is lots for us to celebrate. There is also a lot more work to be done”. So while much progress has taken place in the 60 years following the Stonewall Riots, the pursuit of equality has far to go. Being LGBTQIA is still illegal in 74 counties around the work and punishable by death in 12 of them. It’s widely acknowledged that members of the LGBTQIA community are at a higher risk of experiencing mental health difficulties, addictions to alcohol and other substances, depression, self harm and are at a higher suicide risk. The fight is not over. The protection of all groups and the continued compassion and equality awarded to all members of the LGBQIA community is essential.

What Pride means in NI

Historically Northern Ireland has been slower to recognise the rights of the LGBTQIA community. With civil partnerships recognised in 2005, and same sex marriage only in 2020, we have consistently fallen short of the progress achieved in other regions of the UK and the world. It remains crucial that we stand behind the Pride movement in every way possible.

Whether that means better informing yourself and those around you. or working with the organisations who support Pride to roll out real change in the community, find something that you can be involved in. Show support, show solidarity and help to move the mission of Pride in the right direction.

For additional help and resources, we’d suggest checking out these organisations:

Belfast Pride Festival Guide 2022 

HERe NI 

The Rainbow Project 

Cara-Friend 

Transgender NI

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