July 04 2018

#PrideMatters – Middlesex at Pride 2018

Members of the Middlesex University group at Pride in London 2017 #PrideMatters #LoveIsLove

Pride in London will take place on Saturday 7th July this year. They say that if you ask a dozen people to describe what Pride is about then you will get ten different answers. So we thought we would.

Middlesex University is committed to being an organisation where all students, staff and everyone connected is somewhere they can ‘bring their true self to work’. This year is the third year we have proudly supported the Pride in London Parade and made that public statement of our values and our respect for everyone, however they self-define.

Pride in London includes people of every race and faith, whether disabled or able-bodied, and all sexualities and genders including lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, queer, questioning, intersex, trans, genderqueer, gender variant or non-binary as well as straight and cis allies.

Below, twelve people connected to the University; staff, students, alumni and partners state ‘what Pride means to me’ and each demonstrates something unique. Some are LGBT+, some are allies but all are humans who respect their friends and colleagues, respect people, however they self-describe or however they look on the outside.

A little history may also help: Gay Pride month (usually June across the globe) originally commemorated the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. A group of drag queens and gay men fought back against authorities, including the police, who regularly raided their gay bar. It has evolved into the colourful parades we see today, celebrated & still campaigning, across the world.

 

What Pride means to me


Jeff Douglas

Working in IT Security at Middlesex University.
I describe myself as Gay (Pronouns: he/him)

Pride means being able to march with the gay Christian groups evangelising God’s love for LGBT+ people.  To let gay people know – God does love you.  Gay Pride means celebrating being a gay man on this one day of the year.  A day to cast cares aside, to sing, dance, smile and to laugh with joyful happiness.  To feel safer in my difference among others. Where all human sexuality is expressed.
#PrideMatters

 


Elliott Reed

I work at Middlesex University as a Student Wellbeing Advisor.
I describe myself as Queer.

To me, Pride is (and/or should be) first and foremost a protest against the various inequalities we still face in society today. It’s also a celebration of our progress so far and the various milestones we’ve achieved as a community.

More personally, I feel a responsibility to be out and visible and attend Pride – there are so many people out there who don’t feel able to come out for lots of different reasons and it’s important we showcase the diversity of our community and that not only are we just like them, we’re fiercely proud of the very thing they think sets them apart. It sends an incredibly powerful message to the world.
#PrideMatters

Toni Hannon

Staff at Middlesex University, in Design Marketing and Communication, Sport & Recreation.
I don’t like using words to define ME but I am gay.

Pride to me is about acceptance.

Growing up in an East End family in London being gay was something that was abnormal or less than. I grew up with terminology like bender, iron, rent boy etc… and as a young child knowing who I was I was fearful that one day I would be faced with losing the people who meant the most to me simply because of who I was.

The Pride events to me, in my early years, used to represent everything I detested, because they represented who I really was and what I was going to lose because of it. I associated Pride with butch lesbians in oversized shirts, Drag Queens and men in glittered hot pants.

But over time I have come to realise that these people who have been repressed not only by society but by themselves are fighting for the right just to be who they are. They have fought for the rights that I enjoy today as a married gay woman.

Pride means to me celebrating the right to freedom and to enjoy the liberty of being ME and helping change the attitudes of those around us, to accept that. To enjoy our basic human rights. #PrideMatters

 

Ted Houghton

Senior Associate Lecturer Fashion Textiles at Middlesex University.
I am a 67 year old, practicing Gay man.

Pride to me is a description to myself that how I feel is because of how I live my life. It reflects in my approach to my work and practice as a creative, nurturing talent, enabling people to be themselves and being open about who I am in society.
#PrideMatters


David Williams

Director for Corporate Engagement and Co-Chair LGBT+ Everyone Else Staff Forum, Middlesex University.
I self-describe as a gay man, my pronouns are he/him.

Pride to me is a celebration and out pouring of love and respect for others. As a gay man who only came out later in life I am proud to march and hope that my visibility offers some support and hope to others that may be in a similar place to that I was in.  I know that if any person can finally accept themselves then their life will be richer.
#PrideMatters | Twitter: @university_dave

 

Gary Hearne

Senior lecturer in the Faculty of Science and Technology, Middlesex University.
I describe myself as Gay.

Pride to me is not just a day but is about the changes we see every day, the visibility and acceptance – not just a parade.
#PrideMatters


Michael Wilson

I am part of a team involved with the Santander University partnership stakeholder and now Santander Business stakeholder, and business partner with Middlesex University.
I describe myself as Gay (Pronouns: he/him).

I am a confident individual who looks after the people close to him;  Pride to me is not having to be ashamed of your personal life, accepting who you are and having the confidence to be yourself regardless of what background you come from.
#PrideMatters


John Soper

Staff Equality and Inclusion Lead, Middlesex University.
I describe myself as Gay (Pronouns: he/him).

Pride is an opportunity to build on the accomplishments and sacrifices that generations of LGBT+ people have made to make the world a more equal place for everyone; it is particularly important to showcase that people are not binary in their identities and should be able to love as they would like. #PrideMatters


Rachael Wall

I work as Student Groups Coordinator at Middlesex University Students’ Union (MDXSU).
I describe myself as Gay/Queer.

Pride for me is a celebration of how far we have come in getting the LGBT+ rights we have in the UK, but also a reminder that we still have a lot to do in fighting for equality across the world!
#PrideMatters

 

Cónan Kelly

I work at Middlesex University as a Digital Marketing Apprentice, working as part of the Student Engagement Team.
I describe myself as Non-binary, aromantic, asexual.

To me Pride has always been about fighting for change and freedom of self-expression. We have come a long way, but for many in the community there’s still a very real struggle to have their identity accepted. No one should feel like they cannot be themselves. No one should be told they ‘aren’t real.’
#PrideMatters

Angela Reed

I work as Sponsorship and Promotions Manager at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
I self-describe as a straight ally.

I grew up an “outsider” through religion not sexuality, I was bullied, I didn’t “fit in” until I was adopted by the gay community, they offered me a job but more importantly friendship, a place I could be myself, love and support,  all of which continues to this day. We should celebrate love and diversity as this is what humanity is all about.
#PrideMatters

 

Anonymous
Middlesex University alumni.

To me Pride is what I discovered 25 years ago, it rescued me from a dark place and I found my feet and voice in what felt like an unjust and sometimes hostile world. I’ve never looked back since. #PrideMatters

 

Other Useful links:

This is how LGBT Pride began in 1972, by Peter Tatchell:
www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/peter-g-tatchell/lgbt-pride_b_17418306.html

Stonewall riots:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_riots

List of Pride parades 2018:
www.iglta.org/gay-pride-event-calendar/

Pride in London:
prideinlondon.org/

Middlesex University LGBT+ Everyone Else Forum:
www.facebook.com/groups/MDXLGBT/

Middlesex University:
www.mdx.ac.uk

Middlesex at Pride 2017:
www.mdx.ac.uk/news/2017/07/lovehappenshere-middlesex-at-pride-in-london-2017

Contact
David Williams: d.williams@mdx.ac.uk | Twitter: @university_dave

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