June is Pride month the world over, and on Saturday 22nd June we have the amazing Pride Festival here in Exmouth at Manor Gardens.

For those who aren’t aware, the Pride celebrations came out of something a lot less peaceful - the Stonewall riots in the US in 1969. LGBTQ+ communities had been harassed and subjected to police brutality, but just after midnight on 28th June 1969, the community fought back. It was the start of a slow change towards acceptance, and the Pride parades started the year after to commemorate what happened.

I love that we have such a thriving LBGTQ+ community in Exmouth and a widely supportive town, so I was disappointed to see some negative but not unusual comments on one of our community Facebook pages recently after an image of the Exmouth Pride flag was posted: ‘When’s Straight Pride Month’. These are the same type of comments that accompany Black History Month or International Women’s Day and must be made by people who have never had to fear for their safety when just going about living their lives, who have never been discriminated against for being gay, black, a woman, disabled etc.

In my opinion, it’s a mean-spirited and entirely selfish attitude to take when people are standing up for themselves and their differences. And you’ll find that the answer to those questions is - Straight Pride month? Every month. White History month? Every month. International Men’s Day? Every day. Sorry if you feel left out without a flag and a parade, but for those people who still must look over their shoulders in 2024 before they can really be themselves, or be mindful of where they visit, where they walk at night, where they socialise, coming together in solidarity to claim a safe space and assert a presence in the world is so very important. It’s also about education, being able to show people this is who you are. You don’t have to join in, but for as long as there are people making those comments, Pride Month is obviously still so very necessary.

As a Proud Ally, I will be donning some sequins and a rainbow to join in with one of the best parties of the year on the 22nd. You should come and see for yourself, you never know, you might even enjoy it.