Every year across the world the LGBT+ community comes together to celebrate Pride. This year Bristol Pride Festival takes place from 2 – 15 July, with a number of other events happening all across the summer.
Most people see Pride as a carnival – a time to have fun. That is an important part of it, but it of course represents so much more than that. Pride is an active stance against discrimination and violence towards the LGBT+ community. It increases visibility of this social group, helps build a sense of community and celebrates diversity, recognising the significant value that it brings to our city.
At this time of year it’s important to look back on the origins of Pride, which commemorates the Stonewall Riots that broke out in Greenwich Village, New York in the summer of 1969. The police raided a popular gay club, prompting people to fight back in protest. To mark this event, a small group of people proposed the first Pride march to take place on the last Saturday in June. This served as an annual reminder to highlight the wider injustices that the LGBT+ community came up against. In the 1980s and 90s there was a cultural shift, and grassroots parades evolved into the formally organised events that we currently have, which millions of people enjoy every year across the world.
It is also important to remember that Pride is for everyone that wants to show support for the community. Given some of the struggles that continue to exist for the LGBT+ community here and across the world, visible support from allies is meaningful. We need to collectively take a stand against any forms of injustices wherever they arise, and Pride is a time to remember this, as well as a time to celebrate the progress we have made since the Stonewall Riots.
This year the main Pride Day in Bristol is Saturday 14 July, and I look forward to joining Councillors and Bristol City Council’s LGBT+ staff-led group on the Pride March taking place that day. Many other events are also taking place in the run up to the 14 July. Visit the Bristol Pride website to see what is going on and find out how you can join in.