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What Pride Month Is Not

Beyond the glitter and the unicorns: what Pride is and is not.

This June we celebrate diversity. In the words of RuPaul: “we celebrate love”. But this diversity is at stake. The LGBTQI community continues to be discriminated against all over Europe. A new wave of anti-LGBTQI statements, policies and oppression is being pushed by the Ultra Conservatives from Italy all the way to Poland. For example, hate speech being spread from a political level with parties such as VOX willing to ban Pride in Madrid - one of the biggest in Europe.  Yet, this wave is not limited to political suppression, it also prevails in society  like we have seen in the attacks against a lesbian couple in a bus in London

So let’s get real. What are we celebrating when we go out in the streets? 

Yes, pride is a moment to celebrate expressing oneself but it is not just that. The pride month commemorates the 1969 Manhattan Stonewall riots and since then it has become a political statement but the commodification of the cause risks invisibilizing the real struggle. True, Pride is also a moment to wear colorful clothes, sport lots of glitter and wave your flags high but this is not enough. Behind words and tweets of politicians, influencers, allies, there need to be bold actions and policies that make the life of the LGBTQI community easier.

Same-sex marriage is still not possible in almost half of European soil. The so called conversion therapies, pseudoscientific practice of trying to change an individual's sexual orientation, are still happening. Basic rights and access to social services for the transgender and intersex communities are largely ignored and violated regularly.

We need to keep the spirit of the riots, to make clear that we will fight any backlash and that we will continue advancing LGBTQI rights. Not only during the pride month but every single day. For that, we need to challenge the uprising fear and hatred by talking to people, being inclusive in our language, develop new forms of participatory structures and create new realities that are just and equal for all, not just the few. This starts with a foundation of trust, understanding and respecting each other. So, most importantly, Pride is a moment to demonstrate for equal rights and representation. 

The Federation of Young European Greens has been a loyal partner in the last few years, with many activists being part of this community. We are working with LGBTQI organizations, we create safer spaces for queer activists to take part in, and we support young queer people to be elected to the European Parliament. With civil society and in political institutions, we will continue fighting for the rights of one of the most marginalized communities in the world.

Celebrating pride month can mean nothing, or everything. Make your celebration count!