Memories of Pride

27 June 2022

Pride is a gradual process that develops over time, and is different for each and every one of us. GGI colleagues came together to discuss what Pride means to them and how they celebrate. Here are their personal anecdotes:

Stephen McCulloch, Director of Engagement and Corporate Affairs

Pride is everything to me. Growing up in a heteronormative society in the 90s, with section 28 in place, my school life was very difficult. I have since found friends, partners and allies who have transformed how I see and live the LGBTQ+ experience. I'm lucky and privileged. However, pride and visibility continues to be important. The mainstream media behaves abhorrently towards trans and non-binary people - I hope all of those from the LGBTQ+ spectrum, and allies, use Pride as a way to shift this narrative to one of positivity and freedom.

Jaco Marais, Director of Communications

I grew up in the 80s and 90s when there was a lot of media coverage of the gay community. My family had quite job of quickly changing channels and switching off the TV while watching news broadcasts. They identify as devote born again Christians who only approve of sexual conduct in a marriage between a man and a woman.

Aside from the fact that South African media was heavily censored, I remember that violence was bad but that sex was never to be seen. I also remember that any flash of a rainbow flag, a mention of a Pride march or the utterance of term HIV was swiftly followed by an exclamation of the word: "rubbish!" The tv channel would be switched or switched off and the subject would immediately be changed and all questions summarily silenced.

I know my family didn't know this at the time but I was and still now identify as gay. Neither I, nor they could possibly know that those broadcasts contained essential information that pertained to my personal health and wellbeing.

Pride events, the same as any other festival is an opportunity to share information, to make connections and to belong with others. It is also about love. Love for those we choose to love, but also the love for our loved ones, our community and the society we choose to live in.

Simon Hall, Principal Consultant

My best memories of Pride are from when it was a March and not a Parade, there was anger as there was still much structural inequality that needed to be battled over (age of consent, HIV treatment, marriage equality). My first Pride was in 1985, and the sight of the Miners arriving at the head of the march really was amazing. The last Pride was 2019 and I was part of the parade (with Metro Charity) and the atmosphere was stunning, but I was struck that those companies we had fought against in the past now were sponsors: what a contrast. It's great that Pride is now a celebration rather than a protest, but those early Prides for me did feel more gritty and real.

Sarah Crouch, Administration Officer

Pride is acceptance. For me it's a celebration of difference and individualism and what makes us unique and special. It's also celebrating similarities between one another and coming together as a collective society.

Martin Thomas, Copywriter

I'm a proud Brighton & Hove resident of more than 20 years, so Pride is a major part of my local cultural landscape. Each August, my city hosts a Pride in the Park festival, which attracts around half a million people and generates more than £30 million for the local economy and raises millions more for charity. It's a huge, happy, colourful event that serves to remind me every year how lucky I am to live in such a diverse and progressive community.

Daniel Taylor, Engagement Consultant

To feel proud is perhaps one of most powerful and fulfilling feelings. It's also a uniting feeling that is often at the heart of culture and community. For me Pride is about that but also it's a celebration of liberty - freedom to live and love as one chooses. It's a powerful and beautiful thing, built of positivity, empowerment and participation. Liberty is one of the greatest achievements of mankind and something worth celebrating in all its forms. Pride always make me think of the great Martin Luther King Jr. quote: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Prepared by GGI Development and Research LLP for the Good Governance Institute.

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