Jon West explains why he took part in his first ever London Pride parade and what he got out of it
I attended Pride in London with the CSP LGBTQIA+ network last month. This was my first face-to-face event with the network, and it also happened to be my first London Pride. I had an amazing time taking part in the parade, and it was great to see so many different and diverse groups of people.
After the parade, we spent some time getting to know each other. It was great to meet other CSP LGBTQIA+ members in person for the first time, and the entire day was an unforgettable experience.
There are a few reasons why I took part in Pride. First, I wanted to meet other members of the network. It can be isolating in the MSK world, as it tends to be overwhelmingly straight. Also, I wanted to express my support for the entire LGBTQIA+ community.
Pride is important to me on both a personal level and a political level. It took me a long time to grow comfortable with my sexuality and to embrace my true self.
I attended my first ever Pride in 2019, having come out as gay two years before then. With each passing year, I feel prouder and more comfortable with myself. Every single Pride that I’ve attended has been a joyful and positive experience. London Pride 2023 was no exception.
Looking at the bigger picture, I am very much aware that we can’t take our rights for granted. There is a worrying rise in hate crimes and discrimination, especially against trans and non-binary people, and we must not keep silent about it. Pride is a great way to show solidarity as a broad and inclusive community.
I would recommend Pride to other CSP members. No matter what your sexuality or gender identity, you will be made welcome.
The support and love from the crowd and from other people taking part in the parade was unlike anything I’d experienced before.
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