We are so far away from being ok.

rainbow arm

It’s London Pride tomorrow. Started as a rally in 1972 (an anniversary to the Stonewall riots in 1969) it’s come to be recognised by many as a celebration, but organisers have gone with the theme ‘Pride Matters’ this year. They want to highlight that whilst we have come along way there is still a very long way to go.

I think some people believe the gays are ok now. We fought for the right to marry, we got it (though Northern Ireland as still waiting), so everything is fine now yeah? Er, no. Unfortunately, not. Even here in Brighton the gay capital of the UK I don’t always feel safe or will be free of abuse if I hold my wife’s hand while we walk down the street.

Pride in London recently released a report into the lives of LGBT+ people in the UK. It’s based on the views and experiences of LGBT+ compared to the national population.

The report shows 1 in 3 LGBT+ people have been verbally abused because of their identity, sexuality or gender and over three quarters of LGBT+ people don’t feel comfortable showing affection to a partner in public.

Other findings are more worrying still. In answering a ‘concerns for the future’ question; the tolerance for individuals of different sexualities/gender identities and gender equality are the least important issues for heterosexual people scored just 3% compared to 44% in the LGBT+ community. Animal rights scored higher with 6% for heterosexuals. Animal welfare more important than our welfare. LGBT+ people may have achieved equality, but the reality is we are by no means equal.

This shows the huge amount of work still to be done to highlight to the straight community the daily struggles faced by the LGBT+ communities. Raising awareness and understanding is so important.

At tomorrow’s London Pride the press will show the rainbow flags on faces, the smiles, the celebration, the fabulous Drag Queens, the parade and same-sex couples smiling holding hands. We will of course party and have fun but we know the reality and what underpins Pride events the world over and why they are so important, now more than ever.