June is Pride Month; a time for celebration and reflection for LGBTQ+ people across the world. Being able to be proud of your identity is important, everyone should be able to express themselves authentically without prejudice or fear, and live the life they want to. Pride has a long history, and equal rights have been fought for, for decades.
One of my TV binge sessions during lockdown was Channel 4’s ‘It’s a Sin’. For those who haven’t watched it, the series is set in the 80’s and follows four friends during a decade in which everything changed, including the rise of AIDS. Watching this series, stuns you with the naivety, lack of knowledge & education and sheer panic this disease brought with it.
I remember as a teenager seeing the Benetton image of gay activist and AIDS victim David Kirby as he lay on his death bed. That year the disease had become the number one cause of death for US men aged 25 to 44. Benetton claimed it wanted to “go beyond purely preventative measures and touch upon subjects such as solidarity with AIDS patients”. This image had such an impact with me and it inspired my final exhibition piece in my Graphic Design degree - producing a marketing campaign for the Terrence Higgins Trust; a charity I still support to this day.
I remember the tombstone advert on the TV, Princess Diana shook the hand of an AIDS patient without wearing gloves the death of Rock Hudson & Freddie Mercury to name but a few of the 34.7 million ‘recorded’ deaths.
I guess what I am trying to put across in this blog is that although we have come a long way we still have a long way to go.
Many young people today struggle to ‘come out’ and so we must embrace the rainbow flag; a symbol of inclusion and welcome. It tells LGBTQ+ people they can relax, and feel safe to do what others’ take for granted: to demonstrate their love without hate.
I for one fly my flag loud and proud!