JUNE PRIDE MONTH PANEL: EXPLORING & CELEBRATING OUR UNIQUE DIFFERENCES 🌈
It was a privilege and an honour to share a panel discussion with the wonderful Ella Slade (they/them), Nikki Symmons and Ankit Bhuptani (He,Him,His) in celebration of Pride Month. Together, we explored and celebrated the beauty of unique differences in our world, and discussed the importance of Pride as a crucial event to highlight LGBTQ+ identities, a key driver for social change, and a precious opportunity to demonstrate the values of visibility, strength, unity and equality for all communities.
Here are my main takeaways from our fantastic conversation:
We are in dire need around the world of more funding and support for gender-affirming healthcare. At a time when nearly 40% of the trans community attempt to take their life, and as we experience a growing onslaught of state legislation aims to criminalise this lifesaving care, these issues must be addressed urgently. As pointed out by Ella, there remain 71 countries where homosexuality is illegal and in some of those countries, with large populations, still punishable by death. This 2022 reality is alarming, and a must to highlight that the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is far from over.
We also discussed the importance of “bursting” our own echo chambers: this means extending conversations around Pride and gender beyond our own allies & LGBTQ+ communities. I believe strongly that everyone should be taking part in these crucial campaigns and debates. Ankit also beautifully reminded us so well that Pride is not just about coming out as a proud member of the queer community: it is also about coming out as an ally, a supporter, a friend.
Nikki blessed us with incredibly honest and raw insights into founding a family as a single-sex couple, a procedure which remains difficult across the world. The lovely Ellie-Sky even added a few babbles and squeals of support for her mother’s deeply meaningful and enriching comments on the importance of rainbow families coming out as an international athlete, and constantly learning and re-learning from others.
My core advice through 35 years of advocation remains the same – have those difficult conversations, remain humble about what you know and believe in, and constantly reach out to those who are different from you, to hear their perspectives. Get out there! Show up to LGBTQ+ events! Lead with your heart and fight for our human rights!
How are your celebrating Pride month this year? Any tips and advice on helping move things forward for the LGBTQ+ community?