“Our diversity is our strength!”

Mathew Hulbert | Columnist | 6 September 2021

Welcome to my second ‘Mathew on Monday’ column, here on the Hinckley Free Press.

Mathew Hulbert (left), with Leicester Pride attendees (right) (Image: Mathew Hulbert)

This past Saturday saw one of my favourite days of the year take place; Leicester Pride.

Due to the pandemic it wasn’t possible for it to be held in person last year (though an online version did take place), so it was even more special this weekend to see so many people marching for LGBT+ equality through the streets of Leicester and then enjoying the festivities on Victoria Park.

I saw lots of familiar faces, many of which I’d not seen in person since pre-pandemic.

LGBT+ people and our allies from across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and beyond, gathered to stand in solidarity with LGBT+ communities across the country and around the world; especially the seventy countries where it remains illegal to be gay and the handful where it is punishable by death.

Pride is a colourful party but it is always also a protest.

A protest because there is still a very long way to go until there is full equality for all LGBT+ communities everywhere, wherever in the world.

There are still homophobic attacks here in the UK, there is rising transphobia including, disgracefully, in much of our media; both traditional and new.

Young LGBT+ people are still sometimes thrown out of the family home after coming Out to their families.

And, as I’ve already referenced, the sadly all too many parts of the world where to be LGBT+ is to face persecution.

So, for all the steps forward that have been taken over the years, none are equal until all are equal and we’ll march and campaign until the day comes when all can be their true and full selves and love who they love in peace and safety.

I think especially at this time of LGBT+ people in Afghanistan, whose lives are under constant threat from the Taliban following the withdrawal of American and other Western troops from the country.

Our government, and those of other allies, must do all they can to bring them to safety.

I’m blessed, through a number of voluntary community roles I hold, to be able to spend a lot of my time championing LGBT+ rights and equality across our Borough, throughout Leicestershire, and beyond.

I get to work with some fantastic advocates for the cause, some of whom I got a chance to catch up with at Pride on Saturday.

They are all committed to diversity, equality and inclusion.

At Pride, Leicester showed itself once again to be an example to the rest of the country that our diversity is our strength.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s Pride!

I’ll be back on Monday, September 20th with my next column.

Remember, if you have any feedback you can email me via mhulbert1980@gmail.com

Until the next time, ta da.

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