• Heather Paterson

Why Pride ?

Updated: Mar 25, 2019

As many of you will know I am currently working with the South Yorkshire Pride commitee to put on the first ever LGBT pride event in Sheffield. (http://www.southyorkshirepride.co.uk)

I was asked at a fundraiser we held this week why we need to hold pride events. The reason that this question interested me is because it didn't come from someone who was heterosexual or homophobic or in any way questioning or unsure of the gay community. The question in fact was posed by one of the staff at a gay bar I attended before the fundraiser. As an active member of the community and a regular on Sheffield's gay scene he explained that he has no problem whatsoever with a big gay festival in fact as a bit of a party animal himself he is fully supportive of any such event.

His query was specifically with the term "Pride". His view is that you can be proud of an achievement; passing your driving test, winning a race etc, but being gay is just something that you are, not something that you have achieved. So while he is completely out, open and happy with his sexuality, he questioned whether it is really something that he would consider himself to be proud about.

There are two points in my response to this. Firstly I am proud. I am proud to be a member of a community who over many years have campaigned for equality and human rights, who have achieved changes in laws and attitudes and prejudices within society as a whole. I am proud to live my life in an open and honest way and to be who I am despite the prejudices and discrimination which still exist. In a world where many prejudices still exist, racism, sexism etc homophobia is different. It is virtually impossible to hide the fact of being black or female, however you can hide being gay. You can feel ashamed of your sexuality and/or choose to remain closetted The process of coming out for many people is a major event in their life and one I believe is fully justified of feeling proud of.

Secondly I feel that pride events still serve a major purpose. In a world where 7-12% of the population are Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual depending on the statistical source (we don't need to argue over exact figures, needless to say there are a lot of us) the LGBT community is massively under represented. Sheffield is the fourth largest city in the UK outside of London and the largest city in the UK to have never held a pride event.

Pride events are still an important tool in the campaign for complete equality. Homophobia still exists. People are still abused, attacked and killed on a daily basis across the world. We still don't have full partnership rights and can't get married (civil partnerships are different to a marriage). Sexual health provision for gay women is virtually non existent. Homophobic bullying in schools is still happening on a massive scale. Incitement to hatred on grounds of religion is illegal but incitement to hatred on grounds of sexuality isn't. The list goes on. We have made massive advances over the years since the UK's first gay pride march in 1972 but we still have a long way to go in achieving equality. Pride events are a massive tool in this, in gaining visability, acceptance and continuing campaigning. It is also a fantastic way to bring together a massive community of people which includes people of all genders, ages, religions, ethicities etc to celebrate the diversity of their community, their achievments and their pride.

If you would like to find out more or get involved with South Yorkshire Pride, please email southyorkshirepride@hotmail.co.uk

My role on the pride commitee is organising the main stage so if you have any queries about that specifically then please feel free to contact me.

If you would like to help in a practical way by donating some cash to the event, please go to the website http://www.southyorkshirepride.co.uk click on funding on the left hand side and you will see a paypal link. South Yorkshire Pride is a not for profit community event which is being funded by various fundraiser events, donations and some wonderful people who are working for free to support the event. All donations however small will be greatfully received.

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