Equality Diversity and Inclusion group: Celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month and Pride’s 50th anniversary

The LGBTQ+ Flag.

To celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, Darren Biega, Clinical Development Manager, Utilisation Management Unit and Lauren Constable, Senior Business Analyst, Insight & Intelligence Team, have co-written a blog on behalf of the Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) group within Health Innovation Manchester.

In this instance, the Equality Diversity and Inclusion group aims to raise awareness of and combat prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pride.

Darren Biega, Clinical Development Manager, UM Unit at Health Innovation Manchester:

So what does ‘Pride’ mean to you?  I am not referring to pride in oneself here or pride in your organisation and the contribution you make, but ‘Gay Pride or rather LGBTQ+ Pride’.

In June of 1969, a group of LGBTQ+ people in New York City rioted following a police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar located in Greenwich Village.  This series of events was a turning point for the LGBTQ+ community and marks one of the most significant events leading to the modern gay rights movement.

The following year, organised demonstrations took place in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco to mark the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.  As the years went on, additional cities in North America and Europe began to hold their own public demonstrations or pride day, eventually leading to what we know today as a gay pride parade, march, celebration or festival which usually takes place over the August Bank Holiday weekend in Manchester.

So what does ‘LGBTQ+ Pride’ mean to me?  Well, I have to say I have only physically attended a handful of Pride marches over the last few decades.  All of which I have thoroughly enjoyed not just for the joyful celebrations of clear and present ‘diversity’, ‘difference’ and ‘commonality’, but also for the solemn recognition of those have been adversely affected by discrimination and prejudice and those we have lost in the early years to HIV and AIDs.

Pride to me is not just the opportunity to ‘turn up and be seen’ but also a time to reflect and remember the wonderful, varied and unique ways members of the LGBTQ+ community benefit our local society and wider global community.

So on this 50th Anniversary of the first UK ‘Pride’ and during this LGBTQ+ History Month, whether you identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community yourself or not, celebrate the opportunity to recognise the contributions and achievements that you, your friends, families and colleagues make to our diverse population of unique individuals.

Lauren Constable, Senior Business Analyst, Insight & Intelligence Team at Health Innovation Manchester:

For me ‘Pride’ has been a journey. From onlooker, without the courage or opportunity to take part, to attendee, sharing with friends, strangers, and now family, the opportunity to be myself.

Attending Pride I’ve experienced homophobic abuse, but I’ve also experienced joy, solidarity, awe, learning and contemplation.  My overwhelming reflection of Pride is as a recognition of those who have gone before us, who have broken down the barriers and fought the fights that have allowed us to march at Pride as we do today.

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