BLOG: What does Pride mean to me?

By Fabio Miccoli, Research & Policy Analyst at Network Homes

I was raised in a fairly traditional environment in which the importance of Pride was continuously put into question, with the majority of people struggling to see why the celebration of LGBTQ+ identities and sexualities should even be a thing. Can’t count all those times I heard complaints at school such as ‘As a straight man, I wouldn’t go around half naked to celebrate my sexuality!’…I’m sure everyone’s familiar with that.

The obvious answer to such claims is: that’s not the (whole) point.

When I moved to Milan for university – far from my beloved (but quite small) hometown – I had the first chance to approach the LGBTQ+ movement, by joining the local campaigners. As we planned our participation in the Pride month, I came to a full realisation of what Pride means to me.

For the first time I was actively choosing to embrace my identity as a gay man and fully live my life, knowing that, no matter how scary that seemed, I was not alone. I had just joined a great community of people and the very idea of relying on those people for support was reassuring and empowering.

That’s Pride: it is the opportunity to really embrace whoever you are and define your own identity, without feeling constrained by traditional definitions. But it is also a diverse community, people with different stories and backgrounds coming together to demand justice and advocate for equal rights.

Many things have changed since that time in Milan. The LGBTQ+ movements have won many battles across part of the world, equal rights have been recognised and anti-discrimination legislations have been put in place – not for everyone though, and not everywhere, not in Italy for instance.

As I watched the news on TV as a teenager, during those hot days of June, I remember looking at that colourful march across several cities around the world and feeling hopeful and less lonely. Few years later I was joining the movement and doing my part in organising debates, film screenings and Q&As. And then marching and dancing with my face covered in glitter, surrounded by colours and extravaganza, and feeling happy. And that’s why we will always need Pride.