July 2, 2020Published by: Ashley Penney

What does Pride mean to us?

Last weekend marked the anniversary of the Stonewall riots – the watershed moment that kickstarted the gay liberation movement in 1969.

Since then Pride has held a special place in many people’s hearts and is a deeply emotive time for some of us at Battenhall, too.

My first Pride felt like being hugged by a big fluffy cloud of acceptance and community. Finally it was okay to be what I had tried my whole life to hide. Not only just ‘okay’ but something to be proud of!

This year could have been the first time in 16 years where I wasn’t able to attend, but fortunately I was healthy enough to march with my brothers and sisters to represent Black Trans Lives Matter in central London. It felt much more powerful and purposeful than recent Pride parades, and far from being cancelled, this year Pride was back!

To commemorate the anniversary, the Battenhall team shared what Pride means to them...

Pride was the catalyst for me to learn more about LGBTQ+ history and people like myself. This education taught me a lot about self-acceptance, equality for all minority groups, and the amazing privilege we have living in a country that has some of the best LGBTQ+ rights in the world. There is, however, still more to do in the UK and across the world! On a Pride day I can honestly say I feel empowered and proud to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Glitter, colour, friends, fun, and sunshine! The best thing about Pride is the atmosphere – everyone is happy and having a good time! My first Pride was in London around the time that a terror attack had happened. I remember being really scared but amazed at how defiant everyone was to go out and celebrate. Similar comparisons can be drawn to the Black Lives Matter protests and COVID-19 at the moment.

Pride means a lot to me. It’s an opportunity to celebrate my friends and family in the LGBTQ+ community, and their right to love and be loved. From overcoming personal struggles to living their lives to the fullest, I’m in awe every year when I see how happy they are when united through Pride.

Pride means being true to myself, not being afraid to hold hands with my husband in public, looking at everything in life with an open mind, and treating everyone fairly.

Pride means self-acceptance. It means having pride in my ability to live a life, rather than a lie. It means being able to be open at work. It means pride in the work that's been done, but also an awareness that there's still much to do. There are still too many teenagers taking their lives because they fear rejection. There are still too many places where I wouldn't feel comfortable holding my boyfriend's hand for fear of being attacked. There are still too many groups out there fighting to take away rights. There are still countries where gay people are stoned to death or thrown from buildings. There are still too many challenges for members of the LGBTQ+ community in the UK, and other countries. So much has been done, but there is still far too much inequality in the world.

As someone who lived in New York City for a long time, the Stonewall Inn was special for so many reasons, but sadly they are in the process of possibly shutting down. It’s a landmark and one of the most inclusive and loving places you can visit in NYC, no matter your sexual orientation.

Fun, free-spirited, brave and fabulous!

My first experience of Pride was walking in the parade in London. The atmosphere, the support, and the happiness was overwhelming. It felt incredible and emotional to be a part of it, and seeing the joy on everyone's faces is something I'll never forget. It's so important to celebrate Pride, and to feel proud. It's also important for everyone to educate themselves on the history of Pride, something that I think should be added to the school curriculum. 2020 aside, I look forward to it being bigger, better, and even more colourful every year!

I feel very lucky to have grown up in Brighton where individuality is embraced and encouraged, but Pride is still a unique day of the year. I love being able to celebrate with my friends, especially those who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, as it's a day to see them flourish and be celebrated! We watch the parade each year and as a child I used to take part in it, so it definitely has a special place in my heart!

Pride to me means showing my support as an LGBTQ+ ally and celebrating diversity and inclusivity. It's about reinforcing equal rights and bringing us all closer together!

Pride to me is an opportunity to be proud of being you and celebrating everyone around you. I try to educate myself all year, but I find Pride month particularly poignant because there are so many campaigns and activations going on that it's a great time to learn all about the LGBTQ+ community and its history.

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