With all their colour and razzmatazz, gay pride events today can attract as much weary cynicism as excitement and interest.
Some members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community themselves fear it does nothing but reinforce stereotypes. Others feel it is a redundant occasion – gay people have equality nowadays, so is there any need to be proud of our sexualities when in 2015 no-one cares who you love or what your gender is? Well, to avoid getting too hung up on the word ‘pride’, let’s consider its origins.
The gay pride movement can be traced back to June 1969, when lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people rioted following police brutality at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City.
Within months, the first march had been organised. Now in the UK today, police officers do not barge into gay bars and beat the patrons.
But there remains a disparity in our society when it comes to the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Yes, same-sex marriage is no longer illegal and couples have the same rights as any other.
Celebrities and sport stars are free to come out without fear of persecution from fans or sponsors.
Gay couples can live together just as any other.
Yet young LGBT schoolchildren are still taking their own lives over homophobic bullying.
A recent report from the Youth Chances Project, which interviewed more than 7,000 16 to 25-year-olds, found that more than 40 per cent of them had considered suicide.
A separate report revealed 80 per cent of LGBT youth are bullied for their sexuality.
And one in five LGBT people say they have been the victim of a hate crime – of which one in six of those was a physical attack.
Gay pride serves to remind us all, especially young people, that there is nothing wrong with them regardless of gender or sexuality.
For those LGBT people who dislike the extremes of the community it brings out – instead of shunning the event show your own personalities by attending.
And for those who aren’t lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, show your support by joining the party.
It’s incredibly good fun.