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Taking Pride in Pride Month

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As June comes to a close, so does the focus on the LGBTQA+ movements. Company logos lose their rainbows and special limited edition 'pride products' are taken off the shelves, but as the focus shifts, it’s important to remember the essence of what Pride Month is for and what all allies and community members march for each year: the simple answer is 'love'.

So what is Pride? Well, some may say that it is a declaration of 'we are here, get used to it', but looking into it a little deeper, Pride is a worldwide event that runs throughout the month of June each year. Most cities and towns have their own parades with community members having specialist events to create awareness and spread acceptance. This all leads up to World Pride Day on the 26th of June.

This all started with the Stonewall riots in June 1969 where brave community members such as Marsha P Johnson (an activist who was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and co-founder of the radical activist group Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R.), and her close friend Sylvia Rivera helped start the marches and parades.

We have come on leaps and bounds from where we were in the 1960s (when participants were arrested and given few rights) to where the movement is now but looking at the numbers, there is still a long way to go. To illustrate this point we found some surprising facts and figures on the website Pink News:

• 72 countries criminalise same-sex relationships (and in 45, the law is applied to women as well as men)
• The death penalty is either ‘allowed’, or evidence of its existence occurs, in 8 countries • In more than half the world, LGBT people may not be protected from discrimination by workplace law
• Most governments deny trans people the right to legally change their name and gender from those that were assigned to them at birth
• Between 2008 and 2014,1,612 trans people were murdered across 62 countries  equivalent to a killing every two days
• Same sex marriage is legal in 29 out 195 countries - that is under 50%
• 69 countries have laws that criminalise homosexuality
• Transgender people have an average life expectancy 30 to 35% lower 

There has been some really positive changes over the last few years, such as some amazing progress with the banning on Conversion Therapy.

• In Canada, the government reintroduced a bill (just last week) to criminalise conversion therapy, which is any treatment designed to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity
• New Zealand’s centre-left government pledged on Monday to ban so-called LGBT+ conversion therapy if re-elected later this month as expected, following other countries that have outlawed the discredited practice
• Germany banned gay conversion therapy for under 18s, but stopped short of an outright ban. Advertising or offering the treatment can lead to fines of 30,000 euros ($32,500) or up to one year in jail
• The United States does not have a federal ban on conversion therapy, but 20 U.S. states, including California, Colorado, New York, Washington and more recently Utah prohibit the practice to some degree. Nearly 700,000 Americans have undergone conversion therapy, half when under 18, according to the UCLA’s Williams Institute

Moving away from facts and figures, the message is as it has always been: love is love. As Pride Month comes to a close and logos change back to the original ones, it's important to remember to educate yourselves and spread acceptance.

This year we have supported the charity Lancashire LGBT whose aim is it to 'ensure Lancashire is a place where, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, all are able to be safe, fully participate in all aspects of community life, feel a sense of pride and belonging and know that their contribution is celebrated, shared and inspiring to others. Fairness, equality and access for all. Celebration of our identities without question.'

You can find more information about Stonewall here and Pink News here. 

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