Last weekend, rainbows coloured my cheeks for the first time. I finally went along to a Pride event (Exeter Pride 2017).
Yes, it is partly about celebrating the LGBT+ community, but it’s so much more than that. It’s not just about the gender(s) or sex of whom people like or fall in love with.
It is about being human.
It is about spreading awareness.
It is about inclusion.
It is about diversity.
It is about respect.
It is about people being free to be themselves.
All of us. Whoever we are.
It is celebrating love.
Love in whatever shape or form that happens to be in. As long as it’s real, respectful, consensual, happy and healthy.
It is celebrating what it means to be human.
It is celebrating what it means to be kind.
It is equality.
It is putting an end to discrimination.
It is allowing people to feel comfortable in their own skin.
It is unity, solidarity and support.
It is every person being able to hold their loved one’s hand in public, without receiving funny looks/judgement.
It is education.
It is freedom.
It is loving the world and the people in it.
Whatever our faith, colour, religion, hobbies, place of birth, size, mental health, age or orientation of any kind.
Whether we live in a hostel, on the streets, in a mansion, bungalow or farmhouse; whether we are a part of the Western world or otherwise; whether we like pizza or spaghetti; whether we prefer cats or dogs or love all animals; whether or not we have some kind of disability; whether or not we have piercings or tattoos; whether we prefer to get a takeaway or make soup on a Sunday evening. Whether we secretly love to dance to 90s cheesy jams, blast Beethoven, rap to Jay Z or headbang to metal when nobody’s around; whether we hit the gym, hit the fridge or hit the hay after work; whether we relax by meditating, kayaking, Netflix-n-chilling, painting our nails or reading the Koran.
It is putting a stop to people feeling scared or ashamed to be themselves. We must love ourselves and love others, whatever we/they are into.
It is embracing everything that it means to be ourselves and having the freedom to be just that – without fear or judgement.
It was not long ago that Pride was considered unusual to many, or with contempt. Only a small group with a solitary flag. Now, millions attend to represent, spread awareness and have fun.
At the weekend, I saw people of all ages having fun. Including small children and their parents having a whale of a time, all covered in rainbows. It’s lovely that children are now being educated. Respect to their parents.
It is celebrating how far we have come as a nation (and world, although we still have a long way to go). We are coming closer to accepting and loving every good person. No matter what/who they look like, enjoy, believe in, pray to and love.
It is celebrating life.
It is being ourselves, unabashedly.
Happy Pride, everyone!