Why we still need Gay Pride in the UK

SQwears shares why it feels there is still a need for Gay Pride.

After reading the BBC’s latest article ‘Do Gay People Still Need Gay Bars?’ posted 3 days after Gay Marriage was legalised in the UK, I was left with mixed feelings.

I can understand why the BBC felt the need to raise the question as the recent change in the marriage equality Law means that straight people and members of the LGBTQ community are technically ‘equal’, but I was left with a sour taste in my mouth. I was also asked by a straight friend barely a year ago if ‘we still need Gay Pride’.

It is clear after facing these two questions that now is the time to explain to those who may innocently ask these questions why there is such a strong need for both Pride and Gay clubs.

As a gay teenager, going to gay pride and to gay clubs made me feel incredible. I was surrounded by others exactly like me, it was a safe space and a place to be loud and proud, as at the time I hadn’t ‘come out’ to my family. Looking around I saw others like me, those with the same interests and those with the same mind sets. This is similar to a sports fan attending a sports bar to support their favourite team with fellow fans. It allows a person to meet new friends who have the same interests. You could say that a sports fan doesn’t particularly ‘need’ a sports bar but it is something that is greatly wanted by that community. It is also similar to many University societies for minorities e.g. ‘The Asian society’ that exhibits every year at my Universities Freshers Fair. It is something all minorities want to meet others like them and to talk about important issues, seeking support from those exactly like them.

gay rights london

London Pride participants raise awareness of Putins anti-gay agenda

Ceremonies like Gay Pride are also needed to raise awareness. Just because the UK and some states in America have cottoned on that it is wrong to deny other human beings the right to marry, doesn’t mean other countries have. In Uganda it is now punishable by death if you are caught soliciting in gay activities, and as the media have recently highlighted during the Sochi winter olympics, Vladimir Putins rule over Russia has not been all roses for the LGBTQ community there either. Gay pride brings us together to raise awareness for those who are not as fortunate as we are to live in a free and liberal country.

Getting to the stage the UK is at today was a struggle that took many years of protesting and Law proposals in the making. It was only last saturday that we were ‘allowed’ to get married. People need to be reminded that just because the Law has changed doesn’t mean everybody’s attitudes have. Homophobia still exists. Gay teens are bullied to suicide, people are attacked on the streets and in pubs – things i’ve witnessed in first hand whilst living in the gay-friendly metropolitan city that is London. It’s still an issue because people still look at us as ‘taboo’.
Nobody dares to ask if there is still a need for ‘Black History Month’ because there is. Racist laws were abolished years ago BUT racism still exists and the way black people were treated by the law and by civilians throughout history was disgraceful. It is important that it should be remembered and taught to young people to decrease the likelihood of racism. Because of the importance of racial equality, racism is taken very seriously by the news and media. This is exactly how homophobia should be treated and events such as Gay Pride highlight the importance of equality- despite your sexual orientation.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

Rachel Newbolt

Rachel is a web media student from London, UK.