June is Pride Month, and during this special month we recognise the influence LGBT people have had around the world.
This week Megan Lunn, Client Marketing Officer in External Relations, writes about why Pride means so much to her and her family.
On all accounts I appear to have a Hetro-normal life, married to a man with two children between us – why should Pride Month be so important?
In reality we’re staunch LGBTQ+ allies in our household and the annual considerations, contemplations and of course celebrations that Pride month brings, are a big deal for us.
Personally I’ve had relationships with men and women over years and am a strong believer in loving people not parts. My friendship circle is a wonderful spectrum, and we spent much of our twenties, and early thirties packing our summers full of national Pride events as we did the circuit; Brighton, Newcastle, London, Manchester and more.
My husband, born and bred in South Shields has always been the welcoming type, but with a good pinch of northern gruffness alongside – he doesn’t like big fuss or noise. He’d had little to do with the LGB community until he got to University and it was some years later that he began to really be aware of what TQ+ meant. He loves our friends and would stand up for them in a heartbeat, but Pride? That wasn’t really his thing.
Fast forward and now Pride has had a far deeper impact on our family.
In August 2016 I took my stepson to his first Manchester Pride, he was 16 at the time and was 10 month along from telling us he was trans. We had the BEST time, it was truly an unforgettable Pride.
It’s fair to say he’d been struggling to feel comfortable in his skin; school, home and life in general was challenging. That weekend he shrugged it all off, and got to spend 48 hours as himself. The small things really mattered; he was welcomed, he was celebrated, he disappeared into the crowd as others were choosing to be the spectacle, and he learnt more about representations of gender and sex then he had in any classroom - he still talks about how we walked right into a trio of leather clad human pups on our arrival on Canal Street!
That weekend we shopped for clothes for sixth form; he bought his first suit, he used the changing room in menswear shops; and he used the male toilet for the first time (albeit with the encouragement of the pride community). On the drive to Manchester we’d made small talk, I tried to give him a low-down on what to expect (his jaw still dropped) and we set some ground rules, he was 16 after all. On the way back we talked about his transition, what we could do to help and what was really going through his mind. I’m still not sure he’d have opened up so soon if it hadn’t been for that trip.
The next year we returned, with my husband in tow. My gruff northerner had a special t-shirt printed and had tear-filled eyes as he walked proudly alongside Logan on the march. He’d shown his support before but in that moment, able to shout it loud and proud we all realised just how important it is. We all partied hard that weekend, but were left with no doubt that Pride has a purpose.
Last year, the day before our daughters first birthday we attended Newcastle Pride as a family. We stood in the torrential rain to celebrate and applaud all those who support the LGBTQ+ community. Whilst this year will be different, Pride is still marked in our calendar and will be permanently until we’re confident that this world will accept Logan as he is, or allow our daughter to confidently grow up loving anyone, or be whoever she becomes.
Happy Pride Month from the Lunns!