To mark Pride Month, LGBTQ+ staff and student networks at University of Kent posed the question ‘Why is Pride important to you?’ Along with their answers, members submitted pictures that made them think of pride.
Why is Pride important to you?
“Pride is important to be because it makes me feel visible, included, and part of something bigger”
“The LGBT+ community is one of the most diverse, all-embracing, inclusive communities on the planet. The + is very important. The ability to self-define and still be accepted is a fundamental part of this community, which is what makes it so very special. And it’s not just about who’s allowed in; it’s about the support once you arrive. We look after each other, support each other, and use discrimination against us as fuel to support other minoritised groups”
“Pride Month is when I feel closest to my community. Wherever I am, knowing that the core nature of this community is to protect its own and speak its truth gives me a sense of balance and belonging”
“Pride comes in many different colours, and the LGBT+ community covers many different communities, some more marginalized than others”
“I am not proud because I am gay – I was born gay; I’m proud because I’m not afraid any more”
“When I think of Pride, the first word that comes to me is ‘freedom’. Freedom of being who I am, how I look like and what I wear, what I believe in, and who I love. Unfortunately too many people around the world still don’t have such freedoms, so having a month to celebrate and reflect on the meaning of Pride is still very important, even in 2021”
“Pride is important to me because for the other 364 days of the year, I find it hard to be proud”
“As an ally, Pride to me is a reminder of my privilege and that the rights of LGBT+ friends, family and colleagues are far from being won. Pride to me is an ongoing effort to make sure I do all I can to recognise and fight against inequality and to call out injustice, standing side by side with the LGBT+ community with respect and friendship”
“Pride to me never used to mean much, apart from a nice day out and lots of rainbows. That was before I was out as a pansexual/queer person. Now, on the other hand, pride is so incredibly important to me. It is important because it is genuinely the ONLY time and place where I can hold my partner’s hand and not feel worried about harassment and stares. It is the ONLY place where I can feel like I am ‘normal’ and a part of the majority, and nobody will judge me. I don’t think anyone can really understand this without experiencing years of ‘coming out’ in every possible social situation. It also makes me so happy to see younger generations at Pride festivals and in Pride month just being visible and being who they are, in a way that was never possible when I was that age. I enjoy being a role model and making sure that generations to come can feel proud to be who they are and know that they are not alone”
“For me, Pride is a time to reflect on the progress we’ve made thanks to the work of queer heroes, and recognise that there’s still so much to do. I don’t always feel comfortable expressing who I am, but Pride allows me to celebrate – even if it is in very small ways!”
“To me, Pride is radical. It is self-acceptance; it is rejecting the voices that define you as ‘less than’. It is a celebration AND a fight… and there are still lots to fight for. We can only be proud if we stand with and for one another.”