“We should live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity.”
– George Takei
June is Pride Month, and it commemorates years of struggle for civil rights and the continuing pursuit of equal privileges under the law for LGBT+ people. Pride Month works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for the LGBT+ community.
Pride Month is in June to honour the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots, where members and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City formed an uprising to resist police harassment and oppression to which LGBT+ individuals in Americans were commonly subject to. This uprising marks the beginning of a worldwide movement to banish discriminatory laws and practices against LGBT+ people.
Here in the UK over the past few decades, we have seen significant change and reform both socially and legally for the LGBT+ community. However, there is still much more progress to be made, for example, violent crimes against LGBT+ people are on the rise. In 2018, The Stonewall organisation studied the treatment of LGBT+ individuals in the workplace in the UK. It found that more than a third of all LGBT+ staff (35%) had hidden or disguised their orientation at work in the past year because they were afraid of discrimination. This is not surprising, when 18% of LGBT+ people were the target of negative comments or conduct from work colleagues because of their sexual orientation.
Furthermore, on an international scale, data from ILGA World shows there are many countries throughout the world that continue to criminalise and oppress LGBT+ people; including 49 countries which punish homosexual acts with imprisonment and 11 countries that use the death penalty against LGBT+ people.
The celebration is usually marked with events such as festivals, parades, and concerts but with COVID guidelines still in place regarding large gatherings, this year will be different. With London and many other Pride parades being cancelled in the summer of 2020, the organisers have rescheduled this year’s parade to September 11th, 2021 so it can still take place.
There are many ways you can celebrate and take part this June despite large events not happening. These include learning about the issues surrounding the LGBT+ community and Pride Month, donating to LGBT+ non-profits, volunteering with LGBT+ organizations or simply trying to spread acceptance of diversity.
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