Summer is an amazing season, not only because of the heat (when it’s not being British and raining), but also because pride season currently happening! Pride events mean different things for different people, but I feel that there are two main themes: Celebration and History.
Celebration: being out and proud is a wonderful thing. By celebrating who you are and attending the day, marching in a parade, supporting your friends or waving a rainbow flag, you are supporting a community which stands together however you identify.
History: for some, marching in a parade shows a sign of remembrance, solidarity and how history has changed but there are still things to fight for. 2017 is a very special year because it marks 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality. This was a milestone for gay men and LGBT+ rights because it finally meant that you could be yourself. But still there were challenges in terms of social acceptance.
This week I caught up on the Channel 4 documentary 50 Shades of Gay. This interesting programme is hosted by Rupert Everett and he explores what has changed in gay life since the Sexual Offences Act 1967 – when male homosexuality was partially decriminalised in England and Wales.
The Bill received royal assent on 27 July 1967 after a lengthy late night debate in the House of Commons. Once it had become law, partially decriminalising homosexuality, the age of consent was set at 21, but it wasn’t until 1994 when this was reduced to 18. In the year 2000 it reduced to 16.
David Mills, Project Co-ordinator for Know Your Pride writes about why pride is important to him.
“I love going to pride events. The day is always filled with so much colour and happiness, and I remember how excited I was when I found out from a friend that Norwich was going to have its first pride celebration. It really is a day for the whole community. From same sex families, to going to the event with your boyfriend or girlfriend, groups of friends, allies and the older generation remembering the days when you couldn’t be yourself but now you can, there really is something for everyone. For me, the parade is a really important part of the day. It’s so liberating to see people being themselves and being proud of who they are. It’s great having a pride day, but remember pride isn’t just one day its 365!”