As the glitter settles and the rainbow bunting is put away, we say goodbye to Manchester Pride for another year. Pride is without doubt one of my favourite weekends of the year, not just because I myself am LGBT+ but because its four days of the year where my fellow Mancunians, and those who travel across the UK, unite to show that in 2019 there is no place for inequality, racism, gender bias or hate.
In amongst a sea of bunting, the parade, music, laughter and socialising it’s easy to forget the importance of Pride, and why we need it (not just Manchester, but across the UK). I often hear the question “do we still need Pride? Isn’t is a lot better now…” and while there has been great progress made and many people believe diversity is alive and well, several industry statistics highlight an inequality across gender, race, age and sexuality.
To give some context, hate crimes against LGBT+ people in London have risen 100% in the past 5 years, one in five LGBT people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months. Two in five trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months. Four in five anti-LGBT hate crimes and incidents go unreported, with younger LGBT people particularly reluctant to go to the police and earlier this year, there were protests outside Birmingham schools because children were being taught about LGBT issues as part of the curriculum.
The above represent some of the issues at the core of why pride is important, regardless of sexuality - if there isn’t a visible presence which highlights that this isn’t acceptable, it will eventually become engrained into the fabric of society and simply accepted.
Here at Dentsu Aegis Manchester, we pride ourselves on diversity and inclusion, so what better way to showcase this than our annual Pride Fest event; a day of education, information and conversation, with a view to tackle tough issues and encourage peer to peer discussion around sexuality, gender and inequality in the workplace.
With this year marking 50 years of stonewall, Manchester’s &Proud team decorated the office in full pride regalia, while also displaying images, videos and information which highlight the issue of inequality which are still present in 2019. We were kindly joined by our beneficiaries; The George House Trust & LGBT Foundation, who educated the office on the invaluable work they do and joined a Q&A with our very own Tom Amies-Cull.
The event was a huge success - our clients and media partners kindly contributed to the day and though raffles, cakes sales and an afternoon tea, we were able to raise £4,343.61 for our chosen charities. The money will provide invaluable support for LGBT+ people while also shining a light on GHT’s U=U campaign, which informs and educates people on the status of people living with HIV (if you aren’t aware of what U=U is, you can find out more here).
We are looking forward to making Pride Fest 2020 bigger and better, in the meantime please remember that we live in a country where diversity and freedom are widely encouraged, and for that we are exceptionally fortunate. Aside from Pride weekend, I ask you all to be loud, proud and celebrate diversity - for you and I, but also for the people who can’t; whether they’re in countries where they can’t be free, or they’re bound by social stigma not to embrace who they really are or speak out.
Until next year….