Back in 1969, being gay in the US was treated with the same criminal severity as stealing a car or laundering money. Our LGBTQ+ community was forced to hide underground to places of refuge where they could express themselves freely, and more importantly, safely.
One such place was the Stonewall Inn - a small dive bar in Greenwich Village in New York City. In the early hours of Saturday morning on June 28th 1969, the NYPD raided the bar, and dragged its patrons out into the street.
Whilst being hurled into the back of a paddy wagon, Stormé DeLarverie (who has since become known as the Rosa Parks of the gay community), turned the crowd and shouted, “Why don’t you guys do something?” Within minutes, the riots had begun.
The Gay Liberation Front was created as a direct result of the Stonewall Riots, and exactly one year after the raid they held a parade to commemorate such a pivotal moment in history. And with that, Pride was born.
Fifty years have passed since then, and Pride has become a world-wide phenomenon. Every summer, we, along with our allies and our rainbows, take to the streets and forget our fears to remember the brave people who stood up for what was right when it was needed.
We thank the ones who have come before us for what they have done, but there is still much more work to be done. In June of this year, Melania Geymonat was travelling home from a date with her girlfriend Chris on the night bus in London (a bus route I have regularly taken with my boyfriend) when they were brutally attacked by a gang of homophobic youths.
Melania is one of many victims of hate crime. In fact, from a 2017 study, 40% of LGBTQ+ people have experienced hate crimes, of which nine out of ten go unreported. It found that two thirds of respondents actually feared holding hands with their same sex partner in public.
Pride is a way to refuel. It’s a colourful time for us to celebrate love and identity, and a time for everyone to feel safe and free. Pride is when we fly our flags high and tell the world that love will always win.
Homelessness is a huge issue in our community. Almost a quarter of homeless young people identify as LGBTQ+, and over three quarters of those are homeless as a direct result of coming out to their parents.
Since 1989, the Albert Kennedy Trust has helped over 50,000 young people in our community, and that’s why akt was the chosen charity in 2019 for our client Dukes Lane in Brighton.
Dukes Lake have enlisted help from art collective They Made This who last week opened their first pop-up shop. As part of this, 20 of the artists from the collective have designed a bespoke Pride poster, which are currently on sale. All of the money raised from the sale of these prints will be donated to the Albert Kennedy Trust.
Read all about it here.
#PrideofPlace is a series of events for Leeds Pride by our newest client, Wellington Place. As well as actually sponsoring the official Leeds Pride event, they have hosted fundraising events to raise even more money, which Leeds Pride distribute accordingly to their designated charities.
One of the main events was the #PrideofPlace panel, in which seven inclusivity champions from around the region got together to discuss the important of diversity in the workplace.
Make sure you follow @wellington_place_leeds on Instagram to see more.