June marks Pride Month, an annual celebration paying tribute to the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York.
Over the course of the month, the LQBTQ+ community (which stands for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, and others) all come together, and through marches, events, and solidarity with each other, and celebrate the challenges that have been overcome so far, as well as to reflect on the progress that still needs to be made.
The UK’s first pride festival took place on July 1, 1972. 2,000 people attended then, but now millions of people celebrate Pride at events across the world.
However, even to this day, many LGBTQ+ individuals are still often forced to hide their identities from friends, colleagues, and even their own families to avoid being judged and harassed, or even to avoid facing violence for who they are.
For many young people, especially those coming from small towns, university can offer the first genuine opportunity for them to get involved in the LGBTQ+ community: to join societies that celebrate equal rights and who they are, to find visible representation, and to mix with other like-minded individuals, without having to conceal their true identity.
Whether it’s getting involved in activism, or simply looking for a new social scene/ community to be involved in, especially over the last few years, LQBTQ+ students from across the country have been able to find a range of leisure, support, and community groups through their university’s network.
The isolation and social disruption of the pandemic has been hard on us all, but it has also presented a unique set of challenges for LGBTQ+ communities, and their ability to support members.
With so much work still to be done in achieving genuine equality, this pride, it’s more important than ever to stay connected, be supportive, and look after each other.