The month of June marks the anniversary of the Stonewall riots which took place in New York City in 1969. This is a global celebration and focus on the gay experience throughout society and the fight for gay rights. Our LGBTQI+ Working Group Chair, Will Davenport, pauses to reflect on some of the UK based events from this year, what pride means to him and why it is still important to keep a focus on gay rights –
What a month it has been!
Regaining a sense of community has never been more important right now after the year we have had. But, what is pride and why is it so important? Pride is about empowerment, tolerance and respect for the LGBT+ community.
Pride is a protest.
On Saturday the 26th of June thousands of people safely congregated at Wellington Arch and walked down to Soho Square for the London Trans Pride March. Trans Pride is a powerful yearly event which continues to gain momentum and is something I look forward to every year. The march is a celebration of Trans power and a demand for equal rights for the Transgender community. We still have a long way to go, Galop (an LGBT+ anti-violence charity) has reported that 1 in 4 people have experienced a transphobic physical assault or threat, and 5 in 10 feel less able to leave the house due to fear of hate crime. It can’t be highlighted enough how integral a march like this is for the Transgender community, it is a beautiful event which will continue to grow in power.
Pride is a party!
Nothing can replace the energy of live music and performance, and so it is incredibly exciting to see events re-appearing, such as Queer Cabaret! I was fortunate to be able to see QUEEFY Cabaret at The Two Brewers. QUEEFY is an eclectic show put together by the cabaret superstar Rhys’Pieces. The show features a superb mix of performance art, comedy, drag, and music and is the the only event I’ve seen which can segue from a huge sea slug to Lady Gaga’s Rain On Me! QUEEFY Cabaret is currently on tour across London venues, to follow where they move next do give @rhysspieces_ a follow on instagram.
Pride is personal.
You may want to attend protests and events at the moment but simply can’t because of your circumstance. It is important to remember that pride can be felt in many different ways and doesn’t only exist in a parade or a cabaret in the city. Pride is a conversation with your friend or loved one about your sexuality, pride is empowering yourself, pride is finding confidence. Pride is also a delicate feeling that can be attenuated by the environment you live in, if your environment is reducing your sense of pride then find ways to reach out to local or online communities for help.
Pride is about community.
During my time working with The Ivors Academy as the chair of their LGBT+ working group I have had the pleasure of meeting lots of incredibly talented LGBT+ musicians and creatives. What often strikes me in our working group meetings is how despite our varied backgrounds and musical interests we often can all relate to feeling shame for our sexuality or feeling ostracised at some point in our lives. This highlights how important it is to share experiences. Pride is about finding a sense of community, finding your chosen family and relating to and respecting the experiences of other fellow members of the LGBT+ community! You can do this as an ally, a family member, a teacher or a friend.
The Ivors Academy are very grateful to Will for sharing his thoughts and reflections and giving us these insights.
If you would like to reach out to The Ivors Academy LGBT+ working group and be a part of our network then do email us at firstname.lastname@example.org