why we need pride now more than ever
2020’s Pride celebrations look very different this year. For the last 50 years, during a normal June and the summer months that follow, LBGTQ+ communities worldwide get together with marches, parties and public events that not only celebrate this diverse community, but challenge ideas of discrimination and prejudice, and promote tolerance and acceptance.
This year, however, COVID-19 has dashed any hopes of real life gatherings in any sense that resembles normality, and instead events will be taking place online. But with trans rights being rolled back at an alarming rate and the Black Lives Matter movement highlighting the urgent need for intersectionality, we need Pride now more than ever - even if that’s not in a physical sense. Here are 5 reasons why.
1. the cOVID effect
Celebrations aside, there are many knock-on effects from COVID-19 for the LGBTQ+ community. The Guardian newspaper reported that lockdown has caused some young LGBTQ+ people to face violence at home from unsupportive family members, while others have even been made homeless through intolerance. Meanwhile, some countries have restricted access to crucial healthcare such as HIV treatment and gender-affirming care during the pandemic. All of these factors also contribute to a higher than usual risk of mental health problems.
2. backwards legislation
During his time in office, Barack Obama introduced regulations in the US that defined gender as “a person’s sense of being male, female, neither or a combination”. But earlier this month, President Trump made an about turn, and the American Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would be “returning to the government’s interpretation of sex discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology”. This announcement was made on June 12th - the 4th anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, in which 49 people were shot and killed in a gay nightclub in Florida.
3. Black Trans Lives matter
A 2018 report from the Human Rights Campaign found that transgender women of colour make up four out of every five anti-trans homicides in the US. At the time of writing this, in 2020 at least 14 transgender and non-conforming people have been violently killed. The Human Rights Campaign commented that “it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color – particularly Black transgender women – and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and unchecked access to guns conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare and other necessities”.
4. LGBTQ+ issues
And it isn’t getting any easier for the youngest generation. Research by the lesbian, gay, bi and trans-equality charity Stonewall has found that almost one in five LGBTQ+ young people looking for work have faced discrimination, just because of who they are. Many feel excluded from work or higher education because of a lack of visible role models, while a lack of support from home and bullying confound the issue.
5. visibility is key
According to a recent survey by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency which involved 1,400 participants from 30 countries, discrimination, prejudice and intollerance towards LGBTQ+ people can fall when the community is more visible in everyday life and when equality is more publicly discussed. Pride celebrations and events are usually an ideal way of doing this; this year, instead you can help by using social media platforms to talk about Pride and celebrate members of the LGBTQ+ community that inspire you.
where you can celebrate virtually
This worldwide event will see 24 hours of streamed performances, speeches and content to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall riots on June 27th. Big names on the bill include Courtney Act, Deborah Cox and Olivia Newton-John. Head to YouTube or globalpride2020.org to get in on the action from the safety of your own home.
Running from June 28th to July 5th, this huge series of events has been created by Amnesty International, UK Black Pride, Stonewall and ParaPride, and will involve artists, musicians, comedians, DJs and activists. Find the full programme of events at prideinside.uk, where you can also add your own events.
Pride in London
Fancy a girl band pub quiz with RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Cheryl Hole? Then look no further than Pride in London, which is also hosting everything from Dame Judi Dench in conversation to virtual speed dating. It’s happening all summer at prideinlondon.org