Pride is a celebration and protest that takes place in many cities around the world in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots of 1969 and to reinforce the message of diversity and inclusion for LGBTQ+ people in society. The Stonewall riots occurred as a response to raids that would occur by police forces on gay bars in New York, and is widely believed to be the catalyst to systemic and legislative reform.
Due to coronavirus restrictions, many Pride events due to be held in June, such as London Pride, were cancelled. However, Manchester and Brighton Pride took place at the end of August and the beginning of September, hence why CEL Solicitors believe it is appropriate to voice their support for the LGBTQ+ community, particularly at this time.
Like many communities of varying race, religion, and physical ability, LGBTQ+ communities suffer oppression and abuse both in society and institutionally. Despite the drastic societal and legislative changes across many countries, LGBTQ+ individuals continue to experience discrimination and persecution globally due to them not conforming to the heteronormative ideals of many people. The attitudes to LGBTQ+ individuals vary across the globe, with UK and EU countries having statutory protections for LGBTQ+ individuals, yet 71 jurisdictions still criminalise homosexual relationships, and at least 11 of these provide the death penalty as an appropriate sentence for a guilty indictment.
Even in the most liberal of societies, change has not been easily forthcoming and the change that has occurred has been incredibly recent. Many of the staff at CEL Solicitors (and many of you readers) will have been schooled under, the now repealed, s.28 of the Local Government Act 1988, a provision which prevented the ‘promotion’, (which generally included any educational provisions at all), of homosexual relationships. Schools saw books removed from libraries, syllabuses altered, and the freedom of discussion fettered. Although legislative reforms have taken place, even now some members of the LGBTQ+ community are provided with no statutory protection. Due to the complex and progressive nature of sexuality and gender, the phraseology of protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010 often undergoes critical judicial analysis in order to capture different LGBTQ+ individuals, forcing individuals to undergo stressful and often expensive litigation. Please see Mrs R Taylor v Jaguar Land Rover Ltd 1304471/2018.
Notwithstanding the legislative progress that is yet to happen, members of the LGBTQ+ community still experience the same physical abuse which led to the Stonewall riots in 1969. In Liverpool, the home city of CEL Solicitors, the lifting of coronavirus restrictions saw a sudden rise of homophobic attacks in the city center, particularly in the late evenings, resulting in hospitalisations. Please see the following link for further information: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-57579987
There are plenty of comments circulating that Pride no longer holds a place in society or does not require a dedicated month due to progress made. The assumption that LGBTQ+ individuals are fully accepted and integrated into society without discrimination is a delusion, and Pride is the unwavering, constant message that action is still required. Even within the broad spectrum of legislative variations globally, and the definite change in the societal mindset, LGBTQ+ individuals are still subject to prejudicial and homophobic abuse, and we must not waiver in the strive for inclusion and acceptance.