On 9th December 2016, the Isle of Wight County Press (IWCP) published an article on their website about the island’s first Pride rally, which is due to take place in 2017. This is fantastic news and something that should be celebrated, but sadly the IWCP’s writer Charlotte Hofton took a different and damaging view.

In a piece littered with sarcasm and passive aggressive tones, Hofton begins by mocking people who self-identify as queer and ends by saying she has a headache coming on, which presumably is due to the shocking news that we are now living in 2016.

Talking of headaches, it’s opinion pieces life Hofton’s that give me ‘one of my heads’ and her sickening piece of writing shows a clear reason why Pride is still needed in 2016. The general tone of the article appears to be based around the writer not minding what people get up to in private; the poor thing just doesn’t want queerness thrust in her face.

I don’t particularly want opinions like hers being thrust in my face, yet they persist.

It’s in this opinion that Hofton completely misses the point of Pride and what the movement stands for. It is not about a gaggle of gays (that’s the collective term for us, right?) coming together for a “deafening bells and whistles show-off”, as Hofton puts it. Pride is about so much more than that. It is about the LGBT+ community being visible, protesting against atrocities that are still being committed against us around the world, and showing solidarity with LGBT+ people everywhere.

Here are some hard facts that demonstrate why we still need Pride. LGBT+ people remain subject to horrific acts of violence and discrimination. The Pulse shooting earlier this year will tell you that, as will the stories of people who are suspected of being gay been murdered by ISIS. Closer to home, the Independent have reported that homophobic hate crimes have risen by 147% since the Brexit vote, compared to the same period last year.

Hatred towards LGBT+ people is real, even if this modern world, and that is why Pride events continue to have their place. We need to be visible. We need to stand together as one united community against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. We need Pride.

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As Hofton rightly points out, it’s coming up to fifty years since homosexuality was decriminalised in England and Wales. However, with attitudes such as hers still causing genuine damage to LGBT+ people, it’s clear that there needs to be much more progress before we are truly free. Asking us to “shut up” will only result in us becoming louder, my dear.

I wish the Isle of Wight Pride rally the very best of luck with their first event. It’s a huge step forward and an event I may even attend. With bells and whistles, of course.

 

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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.