Pride is about joy. Full on, rainbow, sparkles, colourful joy. It’s about the progress we’ve made, each year, step by step, towards acceptance and equality for LGBTQ people.
Every day LGBTQ people face fear, stigma, spotlight and hate, or marginalisation and exclusion. Every interaction involves weighing up; do we be authentic and true to ourselves, hide parts of who we are, or pretend and play out someone we’re not just to fit in. Making the decision to be out, over and over, day-by-day, as we face increasing rates of hate crime, homelessness, job losses, losing the love of families, communities and friends is an enormous burden. All this, compounded by a lack of appropriate services, which fail to understand the complexities of being LGBTQ leads to higher rates of suicide, self-harm, addictions and poor mental health.
This is why MindOut exists, a mental health service run by, and for LGBTQ people, to make mental health a community concern. At Pride, we will be out there, to support all LGBTQ people around mental wellbeing. Whilst we take a moment around Pride to celebrate our achievements, we are also calling on the wider community to join us in the work we do toward acceptance and equality for our diverse and extended LGBTQ communities.
We recognise identities change, and many may not fit with the LGBTQ umbrella. We are also committed to learning and understanding intersectional needs of the people within our LGBTQ communities and building relationships with Black LGBTQ people, People of Colour, trans and gender non-confirming, 50+ and young people. Here in a privileged country like the UK, and abroad where individuals face torture, persecution and prosecution.
We have a long way to go, but today, with Pride, we count. We can be out and proud, celebrate in unity, and respect differences. So a huge thank you to our partners, funders, sponsors, volunteers, allies, the individuals who have paved the way, and those who continue to work toward equality and acceptance. Thank you for joining us on the road toward freedom and equality.