The struggle for the true meaning of Pride

Resist: After the election of Donald Trump, San Francisco rebranded Pride as a “Resist March”.

Should Pride be a protest or a party? We are halfway through LGBT Pride Month. But alongside the parades and celebrations, there are fears that hard-won gay rights are under threat.

In two weeks’ time, it will be 50 years since the Stonewall riots that started of the modern gay rights movement. The riots began when gay and trans people began fighting back against the police in New York. Every year, Pride Month is held in June in honour of those protests.

LGBT people have won many new rights in the last 50 years. Homosexuality is no longer illegal anywhere in Europe. Same-sex marriage is legal in 29 countries.

As a result, Pride parades are mostly joyful events. They are all about celebrating love and acceptance.

But some say that LGBT people should return to the spirit of protest that inspired Pride.

“Pride isn’t a party, it’s a time for queer people to fight again for their rights,” wrote the journalist Owen Jones in The Guardian yesterday.

He was responding to protests against teaching about LGBT relationships in schools; two recent homophobic attacks, and the NSPCC’s decision to cut ties with the trans activist Munroe Bergdorf.

It is not just Britain. In the USA, President Trump has banned transgender troops from serving in the military. Homosexuality is still illegal in 70 countries around the world. In six of those countries, it is punishable by death.

“Progress in LGBTQ rights has not simply ground to a halt, it is screeching into reverse,” wrote Jones. Is it time to go back to Stonewall’s roots?

Party or protest?

Pride is a protest because progress is never guaranteed. “Let’s have rage, courage and determination,” writes Jones. “LGBTQ rights are under threat, and history shows that the only remedy is to fight back.”

For others, Pride is still a party. It is a time for LGBT people to celebrate how far they have come, in a space where they can be completely themselves — and have fun while they do it. It would be a shame to lose it.

You Decide

  1. What does the word “Pride” mean to you?

Activities

  1. Design your own poster, advertisement or protest banner for Pride.

Some People Say...

“Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it’s a good place to start.”

Jason Collins, America’s first openly gay male athlete

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
In 2011-12 in England and Wales, there were 4,345 reported hate crimes based on sexuality, plus 313 which were directed at trans people. In 2017-18, these numbers had risen to 11,638 and 1,651 respectively.
What do we not know?
How much that rise is due to a higher number of attacks being reported to the police. We also do not know how many incidents go unreported.

Word Watch

Stonewall riots
These began on 28 June, 1969.
Schools
The row began when Parkland Primary began teaching a programme called No Outsiders, which informed pupils about different identities.
Attacks
Five people have been arrested after two lesbian women were attacked on a bus in North London. In a separate incident in Southampton, two actors were attacked on their way to work.
Munroe Bergdorf
A transgender activist who supported a Childline campaign for the charity. The boss of the NSPCC apologised after staff spoke out against the decision.

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