June is here and around the world that means Pride month is being celebrated. This month is dedicated to celebrating LGBTQIA+ communities around the world, as well as raising awareness for the prejudices and discrimination still faced by the community today.
A Brief History Of Pride
Pride is celebrated in June to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a series of demonstrations and protests against police brutality after a raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in New York in 1969. The riots were pivotal in changing discriminatory laws against gay people all around the world.
In June 1970, on the one year anniversary of the first Stonewall Riots, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago saw the first Gay Pride marches to commemorate the Stonewall riots and celebrate the changes that had begun to happen. This cemented the month of June as a celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community moving forward.
Nowadays, pride parades focus on representation and celebration, with marches taking place in major cities around the world. There is still a long way to go to end discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people, and the first step to that is often understanding…
Breaking down LGBTQIA+
One of the most important steps in making the world an equal place is education, and for pride that means being familiar with the terminology and ways that people identify, so let's begin with LGBTQIA+
L - Lesbian: A woman who is sexually attracted to other women.
G - Gay: Historically this meant a man who is sexually attracted to other men, but the word can also be an umbrella term for anyone not heterosexual (straight)
B - Bisexual: Someone who is sexually attracted to both men and women. This doesn’t have to mean that the sexual attraction is a 50/50 split. Sexuality can be a sliding scale.
T - Transgender: A wide-ranging term for someone whose gender identity or gender expression differs from the biological sex they were assigned at birth
Q - Questioning or Queer: The Q now stands for both words and both work as an umbrella term for those that consider the above labels restrictive. Historically, queer was a slur but has been reclaimed by the gay community. Some people still find this term offensive, so it’s always best to ask if someone is comfortable with its use.
I - Intersex: Someone born with biological sex characteristics that aren’t traditionally associated with male or female bodies. Intersexuality doesn’t refer to sexual orientation or gender identity
A - Asexual: Often shortened to ‘ace’, asexual people experience little to no sexual attraction to anyone. This is different from aromantic people, who experience little or no romantic attraction
+: The plus represents the multitude of other terms that people use to identify, as well as terms yet to be invented. This includes pansexual, which is sometimes interchangeable with bisexual as it’s someone who is sexually attracted to all gender identities, and non-binary which falls into the transgender definition but is someone who identifies as neither male nor female.
The acronym has grown in recent years because of the development in language, understanding and acceptance. It’s important to remember that language is ever-evolving, and terms which were once accepted have become derogatory and vice-versa. This is why continuous education and listening is so important.
The Colours Of The Pride Flag
Much like language and the acronym LGBTQIA+, the pride flag has continuously evolved to represent and celebrate everyone who is part of Pride. In the late 1970’s the recognisable rainbow flag began to be used, designed by Gilbert Baker and inspired in part by the lyrics to Judy Garlands Over The Rainbow.
In recent years, the Progress Pride flag has been used a lot more frequently. This combines the original six colour rainbow flag which was invented to represent the LGB community and adds in extra colours to represent the growing diversity of the community.
White, Pink + Light Blue - to represent the Transgender flag
Black + Brown - to represent people of colour who are often not fully included in the LGBT community
As every company and corporation now celebrate Pride, it can be difficult to remember that at its heart, pride began as a protest and is still a time to fight to end the discrimination that LGBTQIA+ people face. In the UK, non-binary people are not legally recognised on documentation like passports, conversion therapy is still legal for Transgender people, and female couples face unequal access to fertility treatment, to name a few issues. Around the world, many LGBTQIA+ people are still criminalised and face huge risks to their livelihood just by existing.
Wherever you live in the UK, you can take part in pride events and marches to celebrate or show support for the LGBTQIA+ community. You can also donate to hundreds of charities to help improve the lives of LGBTQIA+ people. Some of our favourites are Stonewall, who are committed to improving the lives of LGBTQIA+ people around the world, akt foundation, who help LGBTQIA+ youths struggling with homelessness or hostile living situations, and Mermaids who support gender-diverse kids and young people to lead the best lives possible.
We hope this blog post has helped explain the history of pride, as well as some of the terminology that’s used this month. Education is the key to acceptance, and remember it’s never wrong to ask questions as long as it’s respectful.