I will be the first to admit that I am a massive fan of LGBT pride, I have done the marching, I have worn the rainbow flag, I have danced to the cheesiest classics and I have drunkenly had the inevitable one-night stands that come with Pride Month (thanks, lads).
Pride is a chance to celebrate being gay, being diverse and being different but somehow 2017 is already starting to feel over the top. Has LGBT pride stopped being about the positive stance against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and started to be a chance for the big wig co-operations to cash in on the pink pound ££?
As the summer months are dawning in and pride is looming over our heads I have seen more co-operation jumping on the bandwagon. Skittles have removed the colours from the rainbow on their packaging as the only colours should be those on the LGBT flag.
Channel 4 is devoting a whole week of programming during pride month to television programmes that celebrate all things LGBT. Inevitably they will be showing every gay scene we have masturbated over on TV since the early nineties, from ‘Brookside’s Beth Jordache snogging Margaret Clemence for the first ever pre-watershed lesbian kiss on British television to Lance orally pleasuring his straight mate before getting his head bashed in with a 9 iron on cucumber. Smirnoff has released the limited edition “Love Wins” bottles which undoubtedly cost a fiver more than your average bottle of vodka and Rice Krispies revealed the recipe to their rainbow Rice Krispie treats, clearly stating the first thing you need to do is buy Rice Krispies.
Have the ideas of promoting the LGBT communities self-affirmation, dignity, equal rights, celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance been lost in all the money-making schemes or are these major companies simply supporting the LGBT community and finally showing their alliance?
The message that seems to get lost in translation is that LGBT pride is a celebration. It is celebrating history, it is celebrating integrity but utmost it is celebrating the revolution of 1969 and the fight of every person standing up for what they believe in since then. Pride parades (also known as pride marches, pride events, and pride festivals) for the LGBT community are events celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) culture and pride. The events also at times serve as demonstrations for legal rights such as same-sex marriage.
Most pride events occur annually, and many take place around June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, a pivotal moment in modern LGBT social movements. We don’t forget what happened in the 80’s with the mining strikes, we don’t forget what happened in the late 30/early 40s with World War II and we shouldn’t forget what happened in 1969. All poignant points in history to be remembered and never forgotten, however all times to be celebrated, commemorated and honoured.
What these companies’ agendas truly are will remain a mystery. If they are trying to squeeze the big bucks from our love of everything rainbow coloured or whether they are standing in unison as one, is a question I don’t have the answer to! What I do know is that we should never forget what our predecessors went through for us to stand as the proud, glorious and confident community we are today. So no matter what gay pride event you choose to attend this year, whether you’re laughing with The Funky Beaver Show at Doncaster pride, reliving the 80’s with Hazel Dean at Wakefield Pride
or singing along to “Proud” with Heather Small at Leeds LGBT Pride. Remember it’s not about you, it’s about where you came from and the help and support you had to get there.
Words by Lee Mears