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Iain Ross, Account Director

The author

Iain Ross

Account Director

Happy Pride Season! 

You may have noticed that everything is more rainbow coloured than usual at the moment. In case you’re wondering why that is, it’s because Pride season is well underway, kicking off in June with Pride Month; an internationally recognised month that takes a positive stance against discrimination and violence towards the LGBTQ+ community. 

Pride celebrations take place all over the world throughout the summer and this weekend its Leeds’ turn, so we wanted to take the opportunity to tell the story of Pride, and celebrate all things LGBTQ+. 

Why does Pride start in June? 

Hosting Pride in June is a commemoration to the Stonewall Riots, which occurred in June 1969. 

What were the Stonewall Riots? 

The Stonewall Riots are widely recognised as one of the main events that kick-started the movement towards equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community as we know it today. 

In the 1950s and 60s, people who identified as LGBTQ+ faced an anti-gay legal system… it was literally against the law to be gay. Gay bars served as a place for the LGBTQ+ community to gather and socialise in a safe space, and among the most prominent of these bars was the Stonewall Inn, in Greenwich Village New York. 

Unfortunately, due to the fact that homosexuality was illegal and tensions were extremely high, these bars frequently faced police raids, which would often end in violence. 

These raids became commonplace in the 1960s, but as tensions between New York Police and the LGBTQ+ community in Greenwich Village erupted, protests soon broke out, starting at the Stonewall Inn. 

Within weeks, residents of Greenwich Village and members of the LGBTQ+ community focused their efforts on becoming activists to create safe spaces for their community to be open about their sexual orientation, without fear of violence or being arrested. 

To recognise the efforts of these pioneers, we celebrate Pride in June every year. 

Was homosexuality illegal in the UK? 

Yes. 

In England and Wales, homosexuality was decriminalised in 1967 under the Sexual Offences Act. In Scotland, this law wasn’t passed until 1980 (coming into effect in 1981) and in Ireland it happened in 1982. 

It’s estimated that around 49,000 people were prosecuted for being gay. 

Why do we still need Pride? 

We’ve come a long way since the 1960s and Pride is a way to celebrate that, whilst continuing to stand up to the prejudice that is still very much prevalent in the world. 

As we speak, there are 11 countries where being homosexual is punishable by death and 73 countries where it is against the law. 

In the UK, it was recently reported that hate crimes against gay and lesbian people have doubled since 2014, and trebled against people who identify as transgender. LGBTQ+ youth make up around 24% of the youth homeless population and 52% of young LGBTQ+ people have reported self-harm. 

There is still work to be done, and Pride is a way to continue this positive stance in the face of adversity. 

Why isn’t there a heterosexual pride celebration? 

This quote always seems to sum up the answer to this question perfectly: 

“Pride was not born of a need to celebrate being LGBTQ+, but our right to exist without persecution. So instead of wondering why there isn’t a straight pride movement, be thankful you don’t need one”

Great, so when is Pride in Leeds? 

Leeds Pride is taking place on Sunday 4th August. 

Where can I find out more about Pride? 

There are so many amazing charities and organisations that work tirelessly on achieving equality for the LGBTQ+ community. Below are a few resources that have some interesting further reading.

https://www.stonewall.org.uk/ 

https://www.akt.org.uk/ 

https://lgbt.foundation/ 

http://www.leedspride.com/ 

To find out more about how we’re celebrating Pride here at Jaywing PR, take a look at our Twitter and Instagram, where we’ll be sharing lots of important information and documenting our own celebrations!