Happy Pride Month 2021 – we are to celebrate life, diversity, love and inclusion.
This past couple of years have been very complicated for the whole world, for sure, but for the LGBT+ community, things have been even worst – sometimes. This pandemic forced people to live together in narrow spaces: too often LGBT+ people had to live in hostile environments and their lives, their mental health were put in serious risk.
June is the month when we celebrate Pride globally: we also celebrate life, inclusion, we scream out loud our right to exist, to live and love, to have a decent life and get our rights recognised. June is generally the month when we start marching our Pride Parades, or at least we used to, before Covid-19 messed up with our lives.
I would therefore love to begin this month with a reflection, that starts from a question I’ve been recently asked: do you still need Pride Parades in 2021?
It is not easy to explain what it feels like to walk the streets of your city and publicly show your support for LGBT+ people, especially when you see that these parades are attended not only by rainbow people but also by straight families with their children who support us.
“And you need to be so excessive and theatrical?” … Perhaps, this way of living pride parades in such a “theatrical” way is also a way of living in a more overwhelming, inclusive and cheerful way. A feeling of belonging to a community that has every right to exist and to be accepted.
I get a sense of pride when I see all those young boys and girls that become aware of their homosexuality or bisexuality, that take to the streets to parade and acquire even more awareness of their own person. This could already be enough to “justify” a Pride Parade. But, I can add more.
We are very lucky to live in a part of the world where being gay is not a crime, but we have to remember that, unfortunately, having sex with someone of the same sex is illegal in 71 countries, while gays risk their lives in about 10 of them. Approximately 12% of trans murders for homophobic reasons are recorded every year in Europe alone, and shall we take global numbers into consideration, then we would get a very scary figure.
Last year, thousands of young people were raped for being lesbian, gay, bi or trans. Because of the conditions in which we had to live during pandemics and lock-down, over 30% of young lesbians, gays and bi have attempted suicide, with peaks reaching 48% if we consider only the trans world.
Certainly during my years of participation in the gay Pride Parades of Milan, London, Brighton and Tel Aviv, I realised how much gay pride parades have “evolved” and enriched themselves (especially abroad) with floats sponsored by companies that want to promote their inclusiveness and support for the LGBT+ community, and this makes me feel that we are on the right way to a better life for our community. But I do agree with those who think that there is still a long way to go around the world for companies to expose themselves in a more “inclusive” and “equal” way.
You may ask yourself: what is the main point of participating in Pride then? For me it is being together with those I share the same peaceful fight for LGBT+ rights with, and always together with these people, to show the world that observes us from the outside, to all those curious people, of all sex, ethnicity, age and religion that we exist, we are normal people, that we love and want to give and receive love, that we have fun, and that like them all, we exist and want to live our life openly without fear of not being able to show ourselves for who we are, because in the end after all, what harm do we do if we love a person of the same sex or if the body we are born in does not reflect who we really are and we want to change it?
Prides are also a way for associations to raise money to support projects that aim to help and improve the life of the LGBT+ communities around the world.
I have been to many gay prides but each one of them was different and exciting in their own way. There is one thing that will never change: the simple fact of being there, walking in the parade with my friends and telling the world “I exist, I am here and I do not hide because I am proud of who I am “, is what really makes me enjoy each parade.
Pride is a celebration of the diversity that makes us unique, it is not a parade for tolerance: mosquitoes are tolerated, not humans and their lives!
So I’ll ask again: do we still need Pride Parades in 2021? The answer is a monumental YES!