Happy Pride, from Puzzle.
“I’m not missing a minute of this. It’s the revolution!” – Sylvia Rivera
The first Pride was a riot led by black, trans, drag queens. In the early hours of June 28th, 1969, Police raided the Stonewall Inn – a gay club in Greenwich Village, New York City. While this wasn’t the first raid police had conducted on the Inn (in fact, it was common for police to raid known gay bars throughout the 60s), it was the last that its patrons were willing to take. The raid sparked a riot that led to six days of protest and violent clashes with police on Christopher Street, outside the bar. This struggle is largely understood to be the catalyst for real change in favour of the rights of LGBTQIA+ people in the United States, which, of course, had a knock on effect on the rest of the Western world.
While we still have a long way to go (homosexuality is still illegal in over 70 countries), the colourful parties we attend in June today are a world away from Christopher Street. It’s not all feather boas and glitter, though. Homosexuality became legal in the UK in 1967, but the age of consent for gay (male) couples was three years higher that of heterosexual couples until 2001, and then, still, it took until 2014 for same-sex marriage to be legalised. As for women – discriminatory legislation was never actually introduced despite first being discussed in Parliament in 1921, because the House was afraid women would want to explore homosexuality (or sexuality full stop, let’s be honest). Section 28 banned schools from discussing non-heteronormative relationships for 25 years, with lasting detrimental effects on sex and relationship education. Transgender people gained the ability to change the gender on their birth certificate with the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, but this requires them to receive a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria (and excludes nonbinary people altogether.)
Pride is inherently political, because the lives of LGBTQIA+ people are inherently political – but there’s so much to celebrate, too. In 2018, Fiji was the first country in the Pacific to host a Pride parade. This year, a transgender teen’s classmates paid for his legal name change and Reverend Deon Kevin Johnson became his diosces’ first ever openly gay, Black bishop. Sometimes, the little wins aren’t so little at all.
Though there’s always going to be more work to do, we’re proud to say that we do our best to foster an inclusive environment where (we hope) our staff feel comfortable and safe to be themselves. We chatted to a few Puzzle peeps about what pride means to them:
Ella, Senior Community Manager
Pride, to me, is the acknowledgement that we are all united in working together to create a world in which people have the right to love safely and freely. A world in which we are accepted for who we are, regardless of who we love, how we identify or how we choose to present ourselves. Pride means, quite literally, to be proud. Of our identities, of our journey, and of our love.
Fabienne, Account Manager
Pride month is my favourite month, I have many friends within the LGBTQ+ community who I love so much. It’s so lovely to see people come together and celebrate this wonderful event worldwide every year.
One member of our team said:
Pride to me is a celebration and a shiny fluorescent reminder that we still have more to do. Until there is no judgement or hate based upon anyone’s identity and sexuality it’s a festival of fun and a reminder to us all to work harder.
Han, Account Executive
Pride to me is the ability to exist loudly, a privilege our ancestors fought for. To love who you love; unapologetically. To be open about your gender, and your sexual and romantic feelings. Pride is being part of a community that heals any misconceptions you have/had around not being ‘normal’.
George, Community Manager
Pride to me means being grateful for the generations of LGBTQIA+ people before us, and hopeful for the generations that will come next. I’m lucky to live in a time and place where I have freedoms other queer people don’t, and that’s not lost on me. I feel blessed that my community is full of creative, loving, generous people and Pride is about celebrating and honouring that.
Another member of our team said:
Pride is a protest. A place to exist in all our fierce and fragile glory. Where no one has to apologise for their identity. A place where we celebrate it, each other, and those that have led the way. Where we fight for our rights, for recognition and inclusion, and for the most marginalised among us. Lots done – lots to do.
Even though Pride events across the country have been cancelled, we think it’s still vital to celebrate who you are, who you love and how you express yourself. Here are some of our favourite digital events coming up so you can party from home:
- Attitude Magazine’s Closing Party – June 28
- Global Pride 2020 – June 27 – 28
- Gloria! Digital Pride – June 27 – 28
- Virtual Drag Queen Story Hour – July 4
- Amnesty International’s Pride Inside Challenge – throughout June and July
…And if you can’t make it to any of those, our upstanding colleagues have put together a collaborative playlist of our fave Pride anthems to party to. Check it out here, and feel free to add your favourite, too – because Chering is caring!
Words by George – find them here.