WHAT Pride means to me? It’s a political event bringing together LGBT people and their allies to fight and agitate for equal rights. It’s a cause as well as a celebration.
Despite the London Pride board’s decision to put the politics at the back of the queue, the trade union response has been as firm as ever, that we must continue to stand tall and use the opportunity to create a brilliant presence for unions and the messages of solidarity and resistance to the austerity facing our country and communities.
In brightly decorated T-shirts provided by the TUC, anti-austerity placards from Sertuc and floats from Unite, GMB and NUT, as well as banners from every corner of the movement, we want to ensure that we have a colourful and dynamic political presence to show the diverse LGBT community that we are part of the movement for LGBT equality, and that LGBT workers’ place is in our unions.
My own union, Unite, is seeking to reach out to a new audience of potential members, to close the gap between its strong LGBT network and the LGBT worker who isn’t in a union or an organised workplace. Unite’s national LGBT committee has been increasingly disturbed by stories of isolation and distress suffered by LGBT people who face a daily battle against discrimination and hate crime.
In light of this, Unite activists will be marching with hate crime surveys to monitor and collect as much data as possible about anti-LGBT discrimination. Unite’s Pride slogan this year, “We fight for roses, too!”— heavily paraphrased from the song Bread and Roses used in the 2014 LGSM biopic Pride — aims to communicate the theme of solidarity and togetherness that unions can bring to our movement.
Perhaps the next great opportunity to secure politics in our Pride march is just around the corner with Labour’s bid in the mayoral election, and the TUC and its member unions have pledged to make sure this issue is included in the debates.
Our movement has great cause for celebration. It is one of the most effective civil rights movements in history, but for those who think that securing gay marriage meant the end of our fight, we must remind them that there is still so much to do for so many — including fighting for the rights and lives of our sisters and brothers around the globe, tackling LGBT hate crime, including and improving LGBT education in schools, abolishing the spousal veto and securing true equal rights once and for all.
PEOPLE ask me what Pride means to me. Well, to me, words can’t describe it. Pride is not just a one-day celebration but a daily feeling of which grows from strength to strength. A sense of pride and knowledge that things are getting better.
The events that happen up and down the country and worldwide highlight the success stories, but sadly also give us a time to reflect as a community about the people that we have lost and the issues we are fighting — a time for generations to educate each other, come together to share life stories and become part of a living history. This is what Pride is to me … but what is it to you?
Rhian Lodwig Unite the Union national LGBT delegate from Wales
WHAT Pride means to me is that it brings me closer to my gay culture than anything else. It also puts me in touch with my gay history and it’s thanks to those older brothers and sisters who have gone before us that allows me to march in Pride London today.