LGBTQA+. A whole lot of letters with a lot of different meanings.
Pride. One single word with yet a number of meanings.
The point I’m trying to achieve is that attending Brighton Pride this year (or may it be any pride event) cannot simply be put into one word or a simple sentence because the experience of attending pride with Scouts is one, which for every individual will mean something different. Brighton Pride. Two words, yet hundreds of different meanings and this is my view.
As an openly gay Scout member I strive to always carry the message that Scouting is well and truly for all. This isn’t to just say that this means open to those LGBTQA+ but promoting Scouting for all is about showing people that no matter your religion, gender, class or how we define or look Scouting is accepting and inclusive to all. Now in an ideal world perhaps we wouldn’t need to tell people that but I still sadly believe that we have not yet reached that point in society (but that’s perhaps a discussion/rant to be had somewhere else!)
Brighton Pride was well and truly a beach themed, colourful display of inclusivity within Scouting across West & East Sussex Scouts – supported by scouting members from across the UK, including UK Chief Commissioner, Tim Kidd. Throughout the parade we kept the streets of Brighton & Hove entertained with our giant beach ball and killer dance moves.
It’s through all this partying that I’m reminded why I attended pride this year. Through the blaring out of YMCA, of which I must have danced to at least 50 times! I hear conversations occur around the surprise of seeing Scouts in a Pride parade, not just because they didn’t think you could be gay in Scouting, but also the shock that girls can join Scouting too. Still we see the public unaware of how far we have come as a movement and this doesn’t make me angry or sad, in truth it makes me even more determined to make change happen. Pride is a chance to celebrate our inclusivity as an organisation and we have so much to be proud off!
As Micheal Priest said when asked about Pride ‘It really shows that Scouting is open and accepting of anyone who wants to be a part of it!’
Brighton pride was a party, a celebration and a chance for me personally to feel proud about whom I am. Not just about my sexuality but also to be walking through pride representing UK Scouting.
These events hold no end of importance in my mind. Defining as LGBTQA+ isn’t easy for some to comprehend or come to terms with, but by supporting these events I hope more and more people will know that they will always be welcome in Scouting because Scouting is well and truly for all.
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