Gay rights and Pride events are now almost taken for granted in the UK. The Doncaster Pride audience in 2010 was two thirds gay – so that’s one third not: hundreds of people and families enjoying a day out, without a concern for sexual preferences. So the question of why we have a Pride in Doncaster is valid.
It’s difficult to believe that in the mid-60s people were routinely arrested for merely frequenting a gay bar. Police raids were common and police would often beat up any resistors. In 1969, however, patrons of the Stonewall Inn in New York fought back against the police and the ensuing riot has often been given credit as the flashpoint that sparked the modern gay liberation movement.
Gay Pride around the world celebrates the progress the movement has achieved since Stonewall and the journey towards tangible rights, visibility, and acceptance which has now meant that Gay Pride, the original symbol of resistance, has itself come under attack for being unnecessary.
While today’s Prides are more commercial than political, there are still parts of the world where same sex relationships are still punishable by whipping, stoning or even death.
Prides still make some cringe – and that’s why they are still needed. The truth is that they’re more than a parade or festival but a spirit of resistance and respect.