The summer months are time for celebration! Not only is it carnival season but it’s also LGBT Pride season too. A time where we honour and remember our past and celebrate our culture, identity, our communities and ourselves! It’s a time to come together, united by our shared identities and experiences.
Pride and public celebration is so important for us. It’s a chance to show others that the LGBT community is colour and culture rich; that we are not and should not be quiet; that we are not and should not be invisible; that we are here and that we are proud.
Pride started as a protest – marching to demand equal rights and fair treatment of LGBT people. Over the years it has been capitalised on and commercialised by companies, business and corporations, whose money making agendas all too often overshadow Pride’s true meaning.
While we have lots to celebrate as a community, we also have a long way to go. LGBT people are still judged against how well they conform to the heteronormative ideal – how well they mimic heterosexual relationship expectations – how easily they fit in with the mainstream. But what of those who don’t and/or don’t want to fit this mould? What about those that aren’t white and/or able bodied, and/or that don’t fit neatly into the gender binary or follow the rules?
Pride for LGBT people of colour(POC) is still very much a protest. For those living their lives outside the ‘norm’ there are still rights, visibility, respect and lives to be fought for. For many, the mere act of attending and marching whilst visibly black and queer is an act of protest; fighting against the dominant image portrayed of the LGBT community. This is not to say that people should not be proud this summer – I am and they should be allowed to be too – but people shouldn’t let the buzz and excitement of Pride overshadow its history and the present situation for invisibilised and marginalised communities within the LGBT community (many of whom, Pride is inaccessible for).
Back in June, UK Black Pride hosted its 9th annual celebration in London. Words can’t describe how powerful and self-affirming it was to be in a park full of LGBT POC – something which for so many of us is but a dream. True representation of LGBT POC is often sparse at LGBT events and this day and organisation really is doing something special. We want to recreate some of the energy and love that we witnessed at UK Black Pride. Catch us in the Manchester Pride parade on 28th August – give us a wave, a cheer – or even join us as we march; unapologetically loudly and proudly!
By Rainbow Noir – Chloe