Pride marches usually happen across the UK throughout the summer, but June is LGBT+ Pride month. It’s likely you will already have seen the rainbow Pride flag in shops and across social media.
Such widespread acceptance and celebration of the LGBT+ community is fantastic, but it cannot be assumed that brands incorporating a rainbow into their logo for a month means that they, their employees and customers all support LGBT+ equality. It’s an ongoing conversation.
Remarkable progress has been made – in many cases thanks to Labour governments (equalising the age of consent, abolition of Section 28, banning of workplace discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, civil partnerships) and it was the support of Labour MPs and peers that ensured that same-sex marriage passed into law. I’m proud to be a member of such a party, and to campaign recently for such active supporters of LGBT+ rights as Leonie Cooper and Sadiq Khan.
- Our London Assembly Member for Merton & Wandsworth, Leonie Cooper and her office run the quarterly LGBT+ Forums Network at City Hall. In September 2019 Leonie hosted a trans fashion show at City Hall to raise awareness of transphobia and funds for CliniQ, and is a proud Trustee of Wandsworth Oasis.
- As our mayor, Sadiq Khan has been a consistent ally, engaging with the LGBT+ community to support and celebrate diversity, reduce hate crime and support its victims, and promote HIV testing.
- It was great to see Sadiq post a picture in his “La!” shirt at the weekend. Created earlier this year by Labour councillor for Oval, former Lambeth mayor and graphic designer Philip Normal as a response to the popularity of the phrase used in groundbreaking Channel 4 drama It’s a Sin, it’s raised over £250,000 for HIV and sexual health charity The Terrence Higgins Trust.
There is much to celebrate, to such an extent that many feel there isn’t much to march for any more, and that Pride is no longer political or a protest but rather a celebration, a recognition, a validation. Their complacency is misplaced.
More work is required, particularly for the trans community and people of colour. Increasingly, the Progress Pride flag is being used, which features the pink, white and blue colours of the Trans Pride flag and brown and black stripes advancing forward – ensuring people with a history of being marginalised within our community are visible, and also serving as an acknowledgement of their vital contributions to the fight for LGBT+ equality.
Young people also need our support. Did you know that according to charity akt, 24% of young homeless people identify as LGBT+, with 77% stating that coming out to their parents was the main factor? We must do better.
Please, keep championing equality of all kinds this Pride month and throughout the year. Challenge prejudice and bias not only in others but also yourself – and tell those in your life who are LGBT+ that they have your support.
Whether you are LGBT+ or an ally, please contact me if you have issues to highlight, would like to support or have ideas for local LGBT+ events and campaigns.
LGBT+ Officer, Wimbledon Labour Party
Secretary, West Barnes Branch