The Pride Canterbury procession in St Peter’s Street

Yes, Pride is a huge party, but it also helps us come to terms with our identities

Canterbury needs a successful pride event, and that event needs support from both the public and the private sector.

Both the city council and many local businesses see the importance of supporting Pride, and we are extremely grateful for their support. So why can’t some people see how important it is?

I get it, on the surface Pride events look like a huge party. And there is no denying that they are enormous fun, full of colour, excitement and flamboyance.

But in the same way that Christmas isn’t just about the presents and Thanksgiving isn’t just about the food, Pride isn’t just about the party.

If you aren’t LGBT+ this can be difficult to see, in the same way that an atheist might not see why that to a Christian, Easter is about more than just the chocolate. So allow me to explain.

Pride chairman Edd Withers

When I was 18 I went to my first Pride event. At that event, for the first time in my life, I truly accepted who I was. I came out to my Mum, and started to feel like I no longer had a secret to hide.

Going to that Pride event marked a turning point in my life that enabled me to live my life to its full potential, and even go on to organise a Pride event myself, in my hometown.

For many LGBT+ people, the realisation that they are valued members of society even though they aren’t straight, first happens at a Pride event. That moment of personal self-acceptance has a lifelong impact.

Pride events are about visibility, both within the LGBT+ community, and to those outside the LGBT+ community.

It allows people to see that LGBT+ people are their friends, colleagues, people’s mothers, fathers, and more than just the stereotype the media may portray.

For some people, it’s the one day of the year they feel comfortable walking down the high street holding their partners hand, or wearing the clothes they want to wear without feeling different.

MP Rosie Duffield addresses the Pride throng

For those struggling to come to terms with their identity, it can save their life.

I don’t say that lightly. LGBT+ suicide rates, especially teenagers, are worryingly high. LGBT+ teens are 4 times more likely to kill themselves than their heterosexual friends.

More than half of transgender people suffer from depression. 52% of young LGBT+ people have self harmed.

I could go on, but the stats are morbid, and you get the idea.

Pride events make a serious impact on solving these serious issues. I hope you can now see that although a party can be great fun, some parties save lives.

Still not sure? Come to Pride Canterbury on June 9, talk to people, find out why it’s important to them, and have a great time.

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