Pride is an emotion of great depth; it takes over mind and body like a drug and creates a euphoric feeling of self-worth and accomplishment. It chases the demon emotions of hurt, anger, frustration and worry, giving off a sensation we should all recognise and a feeling we should all wear every day. The act of feeling pride is being proud.
1st July, 1972 – London. This date marks the event of the very first gay pride in Britain, an adventure that included over 700 brave people daring to face the barbaric effects of homophobic abuse and to launch a gay revolution. It was bravery which created this carnival of outrageous costumes and daring banners, and it was being proud which pushed them to walk from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park to fight for gay rights.
In 1972 being homosexual was seen as morally incorrect, so it comes as no shock that these men and women faced a lot of abuse and challenges along their march. Cans and coins are said to be a few of the items that were thrown into the crowd as they were bombarded with homophobic abuse by the hecklers. Peter Tatchell, who was interviewed by the Independent, stated that ‘’anyone who stepped a few inches out of line was roughly pushed back. The police were openly homophobic, abusing us and insulting us with impunity’’.
1967 was the year of legalisation of homosexuality. This was a landmark event and a foot in the door for the LGBT community but things still remained very hostile for the gay community. It was an era that believed they could cure being ‘gay’ by electric shock therapy and where lesbians commonly lost their children in custody battles. I just wish that back in that century they had the phrase ‘It gets better’ because I could not think of a more suitable sentiment to describe what they have achieved through their pure act of just being proud.
Tremendous amounts have been achieved by the gay community since the 1970s. Gay clubs no longer remain an underground society, instead they are seen as a fun and safe environment, and gay pride marches have gone from strength to strength each year with more people attending and supporting the LGBT community.
In contemporary society we celebrate pride with music, entertainment, drinks, food, friends and family but most importantly we celebrate it with acceptance. Yes, we still have a lot to conquer; homophobic bullying and suicide are still major issues, but I think it’s more important to take an optimistic sense of mind and realise not what we, but they, have done for our community. They started the gay movement and we are here to make sure it carries on. 700 people, bravery and a sense of pride is what created the gay revolution against a very sinister 1970s Britain, and for that I want to say thank you.
I am glad to be gay.
– Joe W Wilson