On the 27th July the Steel City reflected the colours of the rainbow. It was fantastic to see so many people get into the spirit of Sheffield Pride – including the packed crowd at Malin Bridge Inn’s drag queen cabaret, somewhat far removed from the first origins of pride 50 years ago.
We caught up with a number of local JCI members who took part in the celebrations to see what they think of Pride and why they go?
Though Pride celebrates LGBTQ+ communities, it’s important to remember that progress still needs to be made. As blogger and YouTuber Jessica Kellgren-Fozard explains, “Until we have true equality in all minds Pride will always be relevant and perhaps even after that because the celebration of marginalised identities will always be vital to promote awareness and help teach young people to feel happy and comfortable in their own skin.”
Hannah Woodcock, JCI Leeds member (National Community Action Director 2019; JCI Sheffield Training & Events Director 2014)
It’s great that Pride events take place throughout the summer months. The celebrations give towns and cities across the country (and indeed many parts of the world) chance to acknowledge and embrace LGBTQ+ communities. I think it’s important to remember that Pride isn’t just a series of parties, where you can dress up in rainbow colours and glitter…it’s a movementto acknowledge all the suffering, abuse and discrimination that so many members of the community have faced over the years and I’m afraid can still face today.
Pride is still relevant and necessary in 2019. After Sheffield Pride, my friends and I stopped by a ‘mainstream’ pub that held a drag show and overheard derogatory comments directed to us [as we were wearing tshirts for Pride etc]. Though this may seem like a small-scale example, these casually negative views can make a massive impact on LGBTQ+ lives.
Mark Smith JCI Sheffield member (JCI UK National President 2019; Local President 2015)
Why do I like pride? Because I think it’s a great day and safe atmosphere for all members of the LGBTQ community. And I think it’s important because there should be Pride in celebrating your sexuality, gender or preference and the fact that it’s now safe to do so in a very public way!
Emma Whitaker, JCI Sheffield member
I believe it’s important to hold events like Pride and celebrate everyone for who they are, including our differences as well as similarities.
I’d love society to reach a point where everyone can be who they truly are and not fear judgement. Sexuality doesn’t and shouldn’t define a person, nor should it be a reason to condemn them.
Neal Stirk JCI Sheffield member (Yorkshire Regional Group Chair 2019; Local President 2017)
I go to Sheffield Pride because it’s my hometown and I want to support the local LGBTQ+ community. I think pride is extremely important in this day and age. After suffering many years of bullying at school because of my sexuality, I feel empowered to go to Pride and know that it’s ok to be me. We are not where we need to be yet in terms of rights for the community, however we have come a long way in the last ten years.
The only way the world can be a better place is by remembering that everyone is human. We need to be proud, remember the suffering that people have had in their lives (and that some are still experiencing), and stand up and say, “It’s not ok to treat people like that; we are all human.” Gareth Carson JCI Sheffield member (Local President 2018 & 2016)
I think Pride is vital. It’s important to learn about Pride’s colourful history and why it still takes place. We can never forget how LGBTQ+ people fought for our rights 50 years ago. Even something as simple as being able to buy a drink in bars is a step forward. I am so thankful for those who fought years ago and everything they risked for me to be able to go out with my friends, my boyfriend, be myself and more importantly, be proud.Ryan Pilkington, JCI Sheffield member
Categorised in: Community
This post was written by Mark Smith