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Pride in 2020 is like no other year.
As someone whose spent every June –July -August period since 2008, twelve consecutive years of taking part in Pride parades whether here in London, visiting other UK cities like Manchester, Brighton and Norwich, or taking part in smaller Prides, like Forest Gate and Croydon or travelling abroad to experience Prides across Europe, in Paris and Helsinki, I know for certain that every year I look forward to the visibility, awareness and compassion which brings the LGBTQ+ community together in these specific months.
As a former Chair of Pride in London’s, Community Board, I also recognise the importance of cultural “intersectionality” and this has to be at the heart of how our community celebrates Pride and must be raised to meet the highest bar ensuring that ethnic minority members of our community are given the same platform to perform and be recognised by all parts of the LGBTQ+ community.
In August 2017, I wrote a report based on genuine evidence highlighting the division that some people felt that was obvious at Pride during that year and many Ethnic Minority members welcomed my intervention, recognising that this was a serious issue and needed tackling, however, I was belittled, and trolled on social media by fellow “white” former colleagues for making a fuss and upsetting volunteers when all I was doing was recognising that there was a substantial issue at foot and
here we come to the crucial point –: it’s still there and EVEN more visible and we must all do something more….
Privilege, do we all understand exactly what that means? Sadly, reading through tweets since the events in America took place three weeks ago there is a significant proportion of the population that just don’t get it and make no effort to understand it. Phrases that I’ve heard and seen which I won’t repeat here just shows the utter lack of civility and recognition of our country’s past and influence is lacking.
And not getting it – sadly reveals a lack of awareness when we come to ensuring that every black life matters which is why it is so important that all voices are heard at Pride, from all backgrounds, whether that involves race, faith, social status, age, disability, gender etc…because though it is a celebration to bring everyone together, it also has a mightily impactful political importance whereby the riots in 1969 that are at the cornerstone of our current freedoms were fought for by black trans people and lesbian activists and we in 2020 need to recognise that we sit on the shoulders of amazing advocates from across the world and never forget what so many fought for see below link for an incredible history of LGBTQ+ advocates.
Seeing the events in Minneapolis has only made it increasingly clear that there are people who don’t believe we should all have the same rights and freedoms, and for that reason alone, we need to fight together to ensure everyone is treated equally and that Pride’s values are enhanced by working together.
If we don’t see this as the priority this year, then there will never be another year like it, when we can all reflect and believe that going forward every black life matters and every white person must see this. If Covid hasn’t taught us anything that we can’t put people in a hierarchy of importance when it comes to equality. Nobody trumps anyone else, and nobody deserves to be treated that their life isn’t as valuable as another.
Written by Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett
Global Membership Development Manager for enei (Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion)