It took me a long time to really understand the meaning of Pride.
It wasn’t until I finally learned to love myself for being LGBTQ+ that I was able to celebrate being part of a magical community of courage, compassion and a unique bond that binds us all together.
Pride is definitely a party — I’ll be the first to lose my voice for days screaming Kylie Bangers at the top of my lungs. But it’s time for us to remember our painful history, the heroes who paved the way to make our lives infinitely better than they otherwise would have been, and remember that we together we still have a long way to go before we reach the day when… We can be LGBTQ+ anywhere in the world without fear or punishment.
As Metro.co.uk launches our Pride Month content this year, hopefully most of you will be aware that we don’t limit ourselves to just reporting LGBTQ+ once a year. We aim to deliver this consistently.
Raising awareness and sharing the good and bad experiences of the LGBTQ+ community is crucial. That’s why we like to give something extra during Pride month – and there’s a good reason for that.
I’ve never been more proud to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community as a gay man than I am right now. The future generations who will march in the Prides of tomorrow and years to come are living their lives with an authenticity that so many of us could not have dreamed of just a few years ago.
However, it is not always easy. According to a recent survey, less than half of LGBTQ+ people feel safe where they live. I live in London, one of the most tolerant cities in the world, and even I get more and more nervous about holding my boyfriend’s hand in public as the opposition to our community, especially our trans brothers and sisters, is increasing by the day day becomes louder and more visible.
That’s why it’s still so important to advocate for LGBTQ+ voices, which are so often lost or ignored in the debate our Life.
Over the next four weeks and beyond – as Pride doesn’t stop just because London celebrated – we’ll be bringing back our brilliant celebrity column, Agony Aunt, which has starred and shared with the likes of Rosie Jones and Duncan James Real life experiences of people from the LGBTQ+ community. Like Mina, who came out as trans after 14 years of marriage, and Stewart O’Callaghan, who speaks about the importance of inclusive LGBTQ+ healthcare for people living with cancer.
We’re also introducing our new series, Pride and Joy, which will continue well after Pride Month, sharing empowering stories of transgender people, while our My Platform podcast focuses on the experiences of people in the LGBTQ+ community , including drag race star Crystal and father of four adopted disabled children Gary Ratcliffe.
Of course we’ll have plenty of Pride fun, fashion and festivals as usual, plus find out what’s in store for queer youngsters in 2023. In our exclusive report released today, we speak to charity Just Like Us about the importance of support at home and at school while growing up LGBTQ+ and the big difference it can make.
This is just one of many pieces we’re doing as part of the Metro.co.uk theme for Pride 2023, which is family – and whatever that means for the LGBTQ+ community.
For me it means unconditional love and acceptance – be it from my relatives or from the family of my choice that I took with me along the way. For others, it could be the journey of bringing children into their lives or finding comfort and friendship through shared experiences.
In another article out today, we talk to people about what it means to them. Rev. Giles Goddard tells us it’s his parish, while LGBTQ+ historian Mok O’Keefe says “Family means no judgment – just love”.
But what does it mean for you? Whether you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community or an ally (like the brilliant Mel B, who says the Spice Girls “wouldn’t have happened without the support of the gay community”), we’d love to hear your thoughts.
MORE: ‘A place to be the best version of yourself’: What ‘family’ means to the LGBTQ+ community
MORE: Young LGBTQ+ people who feel supported are twice as likely to be happy in adulthood
MORE: London Pride 2023 events to attend this summer