This Pride month, Hestia’s LGBTQ+ Network asked colleagues what Pride means to them. Here are just a few of the responses.

“I became involved in my local pride 20 years ago to support my best friend. I’ve been lucky enough to see so many people flourish as understanding and acceptance has increased and have been very proud seeing my mum and son actively involved in Pride.”  Gemma

“Pride is the ability to love and be attracted to who you chose to, and be free from norm, judgement and discrimination.” – Ashanti

“I associate Pride with a sense of belonging! I remember growing up feeling different, not fitting in. Most books, films, storis, songs, represented a love which wasn’t mine. Then things started to change and I began feeling part of a larger community, as I came out. I remember how great I felt during one of the first Pride events I attended in London, seeing a sea of LGBTQ+ people in front of me, sharing similar experiences. What a feeling of belonging! – Cosimo

“To me, Pride is a celebration of love and humanity. It's about honouring and embracing what makes each of us unique, and standing together in solidarity of each other. Pride is also about celebrating the progress made towards equality and reflect on the struggles and triumphs of the LGBTQ+ community. It's a time to amplify voices that have been marginalised and educate ourselves.” – Léa

“To me, Pride means being accepted and accepting who you and everyone else is without fear or shame. Pride is a time or place for connection and openness, celebrating the journey the LGBTQ+ community has been on, and the achievements still to come across the globe.” – Alessia

"Pride to me is two fold; firstly it is about how I view myself as a gay man. Over the years I have had an ongoing relationship with shame, something I imagine many LGBTQI+ people can relate to. Whether that's shame about my body, who I am attracted to, the fact I cannot give my parents grandkids so easily and many things that have accumulated over the years. It sometimes makes me feel like an outsider and a loner. I always felt proud to be unapologetically gay when I came out aged 21, I felt invincible after my long teenage years of isolation and confusion, but I was masking for a long time such a large amount of ‘shame’. Pride for me is my daily attempt to keep that destructive emotion out and to be proud of who I am and where I have come from and to stand strong, which will hopefully encourage others to do the same. Secondly, pride is a protest. To continue to impact the lives of our beautiful LGBTQI+ colleagues, friends and family members, we must continue to fight against any attempt to marginalise LGBTQI+ people. Any process or policy that makes them feel othered or less than and stand together as a community with our amazing allies. We have come along way, but we have a long way to go in ensuring equal and fair rights for everyone across the LGBTQI+ spectrum." - Chris

"Pride to me is a celebration of humanity. It celebrates our unique, vibrant and wonderful differences and also the things that unite us all - love, friendship, community." - Hayley

"Pride for me has a great balance, we have a time for us to reflect on the progress society has made, to be thankful that my friends and loved ones have the opportunity to celebrate this great milestone. And then we also have the a fantastic excuse to have an incredible amount of fun, where towns all over the UK are transformed with music, costumes and people dancing in the streets!" - David


Find out more about our LGBTQ+ network