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OX Cares: Pride

Oxford Pride

“Darling,” OX managing director, Jill Rayner says to me, “can you write something about Pride? Because even though you’ve moved to Australia and Melbourne’s queer scene is bigger than Oxford’s, the principle’s the same.”

The truth is, since relocating to Melbourne/Naarm six months ago, I haven’t fully immersed myself in its LGBTQ+ landscape – I’ve been too busy getting lost and enjoying my own company. Jill’s point is valid though. People attend Pride for various reasons, and there’s frequent debate regarding whether it’s primarily a protest, how commercial it’s become, and who should or shouldn’t be allowed to march. But – whether it’s Victoria, London, or Witney – all Prides should share a common goal of championing the LGBTQIA+ community’s most vulnerable members.

This might mean gay kids of Rochdale who heard their Member of Parliament state the following last month: “I don’t want [my children] to be taught … that gay relationships are … as normal as a mum, a dad, and kids.” (George Galloway MP to Novara Media’s Aaron Bastani).

Perhaps it’s UK trans children having to get their heads around the Cass Review.

Or LGBTQ+ asylum seekers our government may send to Rwanda.

Or queer people of Ghana whose identities are currently illegal in their own country.

Now, admittedly whenever I’ve been at a Pride day – drinking vodka and jumping – I’ve rarely thought about the plight of others. I’ve never applied glitter to my face on Pride morning and said in the mirror: “Sam, today is also for those far less fortunate than you.” I also realise it’s very easy for me to sit on my high horse in a comfy apartment, typing away about refugees and trans people while not actually doing anything to help them.

I’m aware a vulnerable queer person isn’t just going to see people smiling at São Paulo Pride and instantly be filled with hope for their own future. Indeed, many such people can’t even access Pride, in-person nor via news reports and social media.

But Pride should exist for them nonetheless. And so long as human beings are scared and unsafe due to sexual orientation and gender identity, it will need to exist, all over the globe. In OX’s region, there’s Chipping Norton Pride (1 June), Banbury (1-2 June) and Oxford (8 June). You might even venture out to Swindon and Wiltshire Pride (10 August), Reading (31 August) or Bicester (7 September). I doubt I’ll be able to physically join you, but I reckon you’ll all cope without me.

Wherever you end up, have a great Pride. You’re part of something pivotal.


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