With Pride Month almost upon us, the global LGBTQ+ community are preparing to celebrate all things queer. It’s also a time to remember and reflect; to think of those who have given their all in a bid for an equal world, whether at the Stonewall Inn in 1969 or on any of the Pride marches that have taken place since.
Being visible – loud and proud – is important, but the power of allies is often underestimated. I strongly advocate for LGBTQ+ allies being welcomed at Pride events – here’s why.
As members of the LGBTQ+ community we take our heritage seriously. Activists such as Marsha P. Johnson, Harvey Milk, and Gilbert Baker are among the trailblazers who pushed for equality and have become ingrained in the history of LGBTQ+ rights. Yet it is important to remember that their stories, which are so familiar to us, are not well-known by the general public.
Pride events are an opportunity to educate allies on the positive change that has been made and what needs to be done if we are going to reach equality. The more allies are aware of, the greater their understanding and respect can be.
All members of the LGBTQ+ community should feel welcomed and celebrated at Pride events. Bisexuals and pansexuals who are in relationships that look straight to outsiders are valid and these couples have the right to attend Pride events without fear of judgement. We need to eradicate bi/pan erasure from both inside and outside the LGBTQ+ community and, by welcoming their straight partners at Pride events, they can become the strongest allies.
Those who argue that Pride should only be for the LGBTQ+ community are missing the point. Whether you see Pride events as a party or a protest is irrelevant – if we want equality for all and for LGBTQ+ people to be seen, we cannot cut ourselves off from the rest of society. Creating a community where everyone is valued, and difference is celebrated encourages a harmonious relationship between people of all sexualities and genders.
Minority groups have always benefitted from the support of allies. We live in a world where homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia still exist – where in some countries being queer is illegal and carries the death penalty. Historically, allies have played an important role in bringing about positive change, so we should welcome those who want to join us.
Statistics provided by Gallup in 2022 suggest 7.2 percent of people in the U.S. identify as LGBTQ+. The 2021 England and Wales census showed 3.2 percent of respondents identified a sexual orientation other than straight. This is similar to the demographic in Australia.
Many more people identify as straight than LGBTQ+ and there is power in numbers. The greater the number of straight allies, the closer we will come to equality for all regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Inviting them to Pride events is a proactive way for the LGBTQ+ community to show a commitment to inclusivity.
Pride events can be money-spinners for stall holders and many LGBTQ+ businesses take part in Pride. Opening the space to allies means there is greater exposure for these LGBTQ+ businesses, as well as greater footfall on the day itself.
Pride events are often the only place straight people see the queer community en masse. It’s our opportunity to show everything that we are and everything we are not – our chance to share our fabulousness with the world – which is why I encourage you to open your heart and mind to welcoming straight allies at Pride.