What does it mean to be proud? What does it mean to be proud to be gay, straight, trans, bi … or even a Star Trek fan?
June is Pride month. It’s a time when the meaning of being proud is played out in events and marches around the world. And of course next month, 7th July 2012, is World Pride, which is hosted in London this year. It’s a time to be reminded how important it is to be proud. This is what the Proud2Be project, to which Stephen Fry recently added a video, is all about.
Joolz Perry Photography
Proud2Be was founded in June 2011 by twin brothers Matt and Jon Price. This is what the brothers have to say about the project.
As gay children the overriding message we both received from our school and church, the media and society was that being gay was something to be ashamed of. After working for several years with children and young people, still the messages our lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) youth receive are not too dissimilar to the ones we heard as children. We believe if these messages are not questioned, the likely hood is our LGBT youth will grow up feeling ashamed about who they are.
If anyone were to ask why it’s important to be proud the answer is in here. There are to this day too many voices telling LGBT people they should be ashamed of who and what they are. And that sense of shame starts early. It informs the path to adulthood, and more often than not in a subconscious, negative way. All too often that voice simply does not go away.
There’s an idealism in the Proud2Be project. And it’s an endearing idealism. In a blog post, Matt asks, “Do you hide who you are? Are you embarrassed about what you do or who you love? We invite you to let go of your shame and be who you are, wherever you are, head held high, no apologies.” This is a message for adults as much as it a message for teens. As Stephen Fry says in his contribution, “I think part of life is learning what to be ashamed of and what to be proud of.”
So far the project has videos from Peter Tatchell, Nigel Evans (MP), London Gay Men’s Chorus, Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus, Michael Cashman (MEP), and the marvellous Fox from Channel 4’s My Transsexual Summer. If you would like to add your voice, click here to go the website. There’s an increasing number of voices out there telling people that it is wrong to be gay, bi, trans. The opposition to equal marriage has provided such people with a platform. In countries such as Russia and Liberia there is in fact a regressive trend, and laws are being reintroduced that strengthen the message of shame. It’s important to take a stand against this outmoded thinking.