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Jamie Aldridge explores why celebrating LGBT pride is as important in 2023 as it’s ever been
Pride Month, which takes place in June every year, provides a platform for the LGBT community to come together and celebrate their diversity and achievements. Events also raise awareness of the issues that the community still faces and give an opportunity to educate people about LGBT rights
The LGBT community in the UK has come a long way since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967. In 2003, a controversial government statute known as ‘Section 28’ was repealed. This law had banned local authorities and schools from ‘promoting homosexuality’ for over 15 years.
In 2004, civil partnerships were introduced, and the Gender Recognition Act, also passed in 2004, allowed binary trans people to change the sex marker on their birth certificate. In 2013, same-sex marriage was legalised, finally giving same-sex couples the same legal protections as opposite-sex couples.
Although the UK has made great progress, discrimination still exists, so celebrating LGBT pride is as important in 2023 as it’s ever been. The LGBT community continues to face challenges, including hate crime, discrimination in the workplace, and lack of representation in politics and media.
Trans rights have become a more visible issue in recent years, yet trans people still face discrimination, ostracism and violence. In 2021, Galop reported that 41% of trans people have been the victim of a hate crime because of their gender identity.
There are still 65 countries where homosexuality is illegal, and in six of those countries this ‘crime’ carries the death penalty
Trans people can also find it difficult to access support to medically transition, with years-long waiting lists for adult Gender Identity Clinics (GICs) and the recent closure of England’s only children’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) in London.
While progress has been made in the UK and other countries in terms of LGBT+ rights, we must also acknowledge that there are still many places in the world where being LGBT is illegal and can even be punishable by death. According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), there are currently 65 countries where homosexuality is illegal, and in six of those countries this ‘crime’ carries the death penalty.
The ILGA has an interactive map on its website which shows which countries criminalise same-sex sexual acts, and another which shows the status of trans people’s legal recognition across the world.
This is why it’s important not only to celebrate the progress that has been made, but to continue to push for equality and acceptance both at home and abroad. Organisations such as Stonewall and Amnesty International work tirelessly to campaign for the rights of LGBT+ people around the world and to raise awareness of the ongoing discrimination that many face.
Pride Month is a time to celebrate the progress that has been made, but it’s also a time to reflect on what still needs to be done to achieve equality for all LGBT people around the world.
Queer Britain, the UK’s first museum of queer culture, is dedicated to celebrating the stories and artwork of LGBTQIA+ people
Here are some events you could attend this Pride Month and beyond:
- The British Library is hosting ‘Queering the Table’, a proud celebration of Britain’s LGBT+ food movement, on 2nd June.
- On Sunday 11th June there will be a screening of Liberty, a film about the work of grassroots LGBT and Black activists in Lewisham to win the right to protest and the right to free speech.
- London’s Trans Pride takes place on Saturday 8th July from 1pm, with a march starting at Trafalgar Square.
- Trans Pride Brighton & Hove is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2023, running from 14th-16th July.
- Brighton & Hove Pride is one of the biggest and most well-established Pride events in the UK, and runs from 4th-7th August this year.
- Bi Pride UK takes place on 2nd September (from 2pm-10pm) in Mile End, East London.
- The V&A runs an LGBTQ-focused tour on the last Saturday of every month, which explores gender and sexual identities through a selection of objects in its collections.
- The British Museum runs several volunteer-led tours per month, focusing on objects with LGBTQ connections.
- Both Tate Britain and Tate Modern run free weekly LGBTQIA+ focused tours which explore the Tate Collection through the lens of gender identity and sexuality.
- The Bishopsgate Institute hosts tours of its LGBTQIA+ Archive Collections, queer walking tours in Bloomsbury, and workshops on LGBTQIA+ literature, drag, and queer care from the HIV/AIDS epidemic to the present day.
- Queer Britain, the UK’s first museum of queer culture, is free to enter and is dedicated to celebrating the stories and artwork of LGBTQIA+ people and preserving queer personal histories.