Being Yourself… It Matters.
REED Takes Part in Birmingham Pride
On 25th May 2019 REED Co-Members from across the group joined thousands of others in the midlands to take part in Birmingham Pride – hailed as the biggest ever by carnival organisers.
In addition to being a chance to celebrate and embrace individual differences, the event was also a way to show support for the “No Outsiders” educational programme.
The Pride Veteran…
Iain Macleod, Project Engagement Manager shared his thoughts with us about REED’s participation in the parade…
I have been attending Birmingham Pride for the past 6 years, being part of the parade for 4 of those.
Since joining the REED Inclusion and Diversity Steering Committee, it has been a goal of mine for REED to have a presence in a Pride parade. This year was that year, and it couldn’t be a better year to start.
But why is that important to me? I spend at least 40 hours a week in work. I’m lucky enough to work for a company that not only accepts me for who I am, but also recognises the unique point of view that LGBT+ have regarding every day fears and barriers. Not everyone is that lucky, and I know the debilitating effect that can have on both performance and happiness.
What makes this year special? The controversy surrounding the protests of the ‘No Outsiders’ programme has genuinely scared me. The things that are being said are eerily similar to the arguments that precipitated a piece of legislation called Section 28 back in 1988. This effectively banned all discussion of homosexuality within schools, meaning that I grew up living in fear of someone discovering my secret. Teaching children that LGBT+ people exist, and that it is fine, will help to ensure that the next generation do not have to police their every conversation or action for fear of being discovered. It will allow them to learn and move on into the world of work, able to freely concentrate on what they are doing rather than on not slipping up and exposing themselves.
“Birmingham Pride 2019 was both protest, celebration and remembrance of those who have fought for the rights of the LGBT+ community.”
As with the past 5 years, Birmingham Pride 2019 was both protest, celebration and remembrance of those who have fought for the rights of the LGBT+ community. It was so freeing to know that within the Pride Zone, I could hold my partner’s hand without looking over my shoulder in fear of attack. Until I can do this anywhere, anytime, there will be a need for Pride!
50 years ago the Stonewall Uprising was made up of the Drag Queens, Trans Women, and outsiders. Now someone like me can follow in the footsteps of Marsha P. Johnson with the full backing and support of the UK’s number 1 recruiter, and with LGBT+ colleagues and Allies literally marching behind me. That’s what empowerment feels like.