When you think of Pride, an image of vibrant parades, dazzling costumes, and glitter-filled parties probably comes to mind. And yes, it’s true, Pride is a time for love, joy, and celebrating within the LGBTQ+ community. However, beneath the surface of festivities and rainbows lies a profound and meaningful truth: Pride is not just a party; it is a protest. In this article, we’ll explore what Pride means to some of our LGBTQ members and staff, and how we can look beyond the party to make sure we’re embracing the protest core of Pride too.
Remembering Our Roots: Stonewall and Beyond Pride finds its roots in the historic Stonewall Uprising of 1969, a momentous event in the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights. It was a time when marginalised voices rose against police brutality and societal oppression. Celebrating Pride is a way of honouring the brave pioneers who fought for visibility, acceptance, and equality when they had little else to rely on but their collective strength. Brighton has a special place in the history of Pride celebrations. While the iconic Stonewall uprising marked the turning point for LGBTQ+ rights in the US, our very own Brighton played a significant role in the UK’s movement. The Sussex Beacon, a local charity, became the first AIDS hospice in the country, offering care and compassion during the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. That spirit of unity, support, and defiance against discrimination still runs deep within our city. Shining a spotlight on current LGBTQ issues One of the primary goals of Pride is to raise awareness and provide visibility to the LGBTQ+ community. Our struggle for equal rights is far from over:
Murder rates of trans individuals continues to rise across the world
Half of LGBTQ+ and “sexual and gender diverse” people surveyed by the Center for American Progress (Cap) in 2022 reported experiencing some form of workplace discrimination or harassment in the past year because of their sexual orientation or gender identity
Stonewall’s recent research found that “one in five LGBT people experienced a hate crime, a quarter of trans people experienced homelessness, 10 percent of Asian and minority ethnic LGBT employees have been physically attacked by customers or colleagues, two in five LGBT students have hidden their identity at university for fear of discrimination” and “eight out of ten trans young people have self-harmed and almost half have attempted to kill themselves”.
Breaking Stereotypes and Fostering Understanding Pride is an opportunity to break stereotypes and challenge misconceptions about the LGBTQ+ community. The festivities provide a platform for open conversations and discussions, fostering empathy and understanding among people from all walks of life. It’s a protest against ignorance and a celebration of diversity. Supporting Global LGBTQ+ Communities While Pride may be most visible in progressive cities, it holds immense significance for LGBTQ+ communities worldwide. In many countries, being openly LGBTQ+ can lead to persecution, imprisonment, or even death. Celebrating Pride becomes an act of solidarity with those who cannot do so freely, shining a light on the human rights struggles faced by many.
We asked some of our LGBTQ members and staff what Pride means to them, and to recommend an educational resource for learning more about queer issues and culture: What Pride means to our community at Projects: Lucy Sambrook, founder of PR for the People says: I didn’t ‘come out’ as bisexual until my late twenties around 2019, but when I did I felt so incredibly lucky to have been born in a time of such acceptance, but I’m well aware it’s not always been that way. To me, Pride gives me a sense of belonging to a loving community. It’s a fearless celebration of self-love, and a weekend to remember to celebrate our authenticity and diversity all year round.’ ‘If I had to recommend something, it would be to watch the TV show ‘It’s a Sin’, that explores the AIDS crisis in London in the 80s. It’s truly shocking that it happened so recently, and really opened my eyes to the horrendous discrimination that took place in the UK not so long ago. Kyle Garland, Business Operations Manager at Projects, says: ‘For me, Pride represents the opportunity for the entire LGBTQ+ community to unite, commemorating both our collective identity and the uniqueness that sets us apart. Above all, Pride symbolises inclusion, and, crucially, embraces an individual’s authentic essence, be it their gender identity or sexual orientation. It empowers and provides a supportive environment for them to live authentically and confidently. ‘Give ‘I Kissed a Boy a watch, it was the UK’s first gay dating show which was released this year.’
Community Manager Bobby Cotter says: Pride is a celebration of self-acceptance and recognition of the LGBTQ+ community’s history, achievements, and ongoing struggle for rights and equality. Although Brighton is very liberal, open and welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community, there is still a long way to go in fighting prejudice, not only in this city but across the whole of the UK and the rest of the world. I love how Brighton completely opens it’s arms to the LGBTQ+ community and allows everyone to be unapologetically themselves without judgement. ‘I’d say Ru Paul’s Drag Race – at least once an episode they bring up queer issues/stories/past experiences and how they dealt with it etc.’
Community Manager Bonnie James says: ‘Pride allows us to be whoever we want to be and to feel safe in doing so. It is such an important celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and spreads awareness of the struggles as well as the love. Having been born in an incredibly ‘straight’ small town, I am so grateful for the open arms of Brighton. Be your beautiful self, always!
I love Queer Eye for the joy and happiness that the fab five bring to so many people and for the issues that they openly raise and talk about both in and out of the queer community!’
So, the next time you see a Pride parade or join in the festivities, remember that beneath the glitter and dancing lies the heart of a protest—a passionate, unwavering stand for equality, visibility, and acceptance. Pride is not just a party; it is a bold declaration that we are here, we are proud, and we will continue to fight until everyone can celebrate their identity without fear or shame. Happy Pride from all of us at Projects! To find out how you can get involved and support the LGBTQ+ community, visit https://www.brighton-pride.org/