June is Pride month. Pride is a time when members of the LGBTQ+ community join together to celebrate the progress that has been made as well as identifying how far there is still to go. The Pride marches began in 1969 following the stonewall riots in New York. At this time homosexual acts were illegal in most of America and this meant places could be shut down and raided if they were thought to have gay employees or customers. This was not the start of the gay rights movement but the riots signified a pivotal moment for members of the LGBTQ+ community fighting for change. Pride month is about teaching tolerance, education in LGBTQ+ history and continuing to move forward in equality.
I came to Marjon through clearing. I hadn’t done much research into the university itself and I’d already accepted my offer before seeing campus. I visited with my Dad and we both agreed it wasn’t a bad place to spend a few years. It just kind of happened, but I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason.
I’d taken two years out before uni. The first I worked abroad and the second progressing through a company to be an International Projects Manager. I’d already lived away from home and wasn’t fresh from school or my home town. I was pretty confident I knew who I was.
Coming out is not an easy thing. There’s the worry of what others will think or what they might say. Would I lose the friends I’d made so far in first year and how much would things change? Would Marjon still be a place I could be happy? But, a lot of the struggle came from myself. Getting my head around things. Some people say they’ve known who they are all their lives and for some it’s all very new and confusing. I didn’t need to worry so much. My friends were supportive and things didn’t change. With the help of some very important people Marjon still felt like somewhere I belonged and somewhere I could be happy.
In my third year I’ve taken on the role of Equality and Diversity officer for the Marjon Student Union. Whilst running for the role a friend reminded me of my struggles in first year and I’d almost forgotten them. Marjon has become somewhere I feel accepted and a place I can be proud of who I am. It’s also taught me that one part of me doesn’t define me.
Brighton Pride was the first Pride event I attended as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. For me it was a day full of emotions. In particular, the immense sense of belonging from being surrounded by a community I now identified with.
Sadly, Pride events all over the world have been postponed in accordance with the Covid-19 guidance. This doesn’t mean that Pride month has been cancelled instead there will be virtual celebrations. You can still cover yourself in glitter and wear everything rainbow for the celebration of global pride on the 27th of June. Following this Amnesty International, UK Black Pride, Stonewall and ParaPride have organised Pride Inside with events running from the 28 June to 5 July.
So happy Pride month everyone!
More info about Virtual Pride:
Stonewall for help and advice:
- You can email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Or call 0300 330 0630 between 10am and 10pm
Follow ‘marjonuni’ on social media and look out for pride month stories.
With thanks to student Laura Hewett for writing this.
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