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Pride is a protest but it is also a place to feel unconditionally loved and accepted

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Published: June 14, 2021

June 2021 is Pride Month. Here we have a guest blog from one of our stage 3 Psychology students, Soph Storey (they/them) to celebrate Pride Month.

An image of a rainbow flag blowing in the wind

It’s the start of June and we all know what that means… Time for companies to profit off of the gays!!! …Wait sorry, I mean… It’s Pride Month!!!

Pride month has existed since well before it became universally celebrated, with evidence of these celebrations dating back to the ‘50s. The most important moment which allowed Pride to fully take flight, was the night of June 28th, 1969 – the Stonewall Riots. Discriminatory police raids were a usual occurrence, with the raid of this evening signalling a fight back from the LGBTQ+ community. Led by transgender women of colour, most notably Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the community decided to fight back against the constant prejudice and gave way for the Pride marches we so happily celebrate today. It’s important to acknowledge that Pride began as a riot, as it was the only way for marginalised voices to be heard and begin to be understood.

Modern Pride exists as a reminder that the LGBTQ+ community is still stigmatised against – with many countries still criminalising LGBTQ+ identities. This is why it is incredibly important that we celebrate who we are every single day of the year, not just Pride Month, as it decreases the stigma, increases understanding, and could change the lives of many individuals. Pride is a protest, but it is also a place to feel unconditionally loved and accepted, without the worry of being judged for who you are.

To me, Pride is a safe space, a second home, where I can forget about all worries and freely be myself. Although my family and friends accept me, I have seen the importance of Pride to individuals who are not accepted in their home environment – the relief on their faces when they can finally open up and be themselves is breath-taking. Everyone should experience a Pride Parade, regardless of their gender identity and sexuality, as just being there fills you with emotions you may have never felt.

Fingers in the shape of a heart with a rainbow overlay

There is a lot of discourse as to who should be allowed at Pride, and to that I say, everyone. Gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, asexual, aromantic, queer – no matter how you identify, Pride is a place for LGBTQ+ identities and allies to celebrate and be themselves. One aspect of Pride, however, which brings disappointment, is the growing capitalism surrounding it. Companies changing their logo to rainbow for the month despite doing nothing to protect the community, and monetary barriers to experiencing the same Pride as everyone else – this should not be happening. Pride should be a free event for all, as the overarching theme is inclusivity, and companies should do more than bring out a Pride range. For Pride, supporting small businesses is incredibly important, so please do your research and find out who actually supports the LGBTQ+ community before buying their latest Pride merch.

Although we can’t celebrate as usual this year, Pride should still be on the forefront of everyone’s minds. Meet your friends whilst socially distanced in a public space, look up online events, wear the clothes you want to wear (even if in secret).

But most importantly, be proud of yourself.

It is important for me to note that from my experiences the university is incredibly open and understanding of all LGBTQ+ identities, but most importantly, I’ve had the best experiences being openly non-binary and gay within the School of Psychology, with my pronouns always being respected by students and staff.

Soph Storey
BSc (Hons) Psychology

Topic: Equality, diversity and inclusion

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