It’s Pride month, and all over the world the rainbow flag is being flown to celebrate the LGBT community and everything that has been achieved in terms of rights and respect.
COVID-19 has meant that most Pride events have had to be cancelled, but people are finding their way around this and celebrating Pride virtually and in their own homes.
We spoke to Natasha Isabelle from VERCIDA Group about her personal Pride experiences.
What does Pride mean to you?
Pride is a chance to get together with friends to celebrate being gay and have a party. It’s great being amongst other gay people but also other people that want to join in the parade and party. It’s a way to celebrate that you are part of something, part of a community and to celebrate who you are.
It’s great to see various different prides around the country and world. You should be proud of who you are every day but Pride makes you think of the times when men and women years ago were killed and suppressed. Even though it’s a party we’ve got to realise why we celebrate it. There isn’t a straight pride because we don’t need one and that’s a great thing.
The thing about the LGBT community is that we accept everyone, you can be anyone you want. I can’t speak on behalf of everyone but I’m sure that every gay person will have this thinking and other people can join in and celebrate it, which can only be a good thing. It’s a big ole party for everyone and it doesn’t matter who you are. Everyone celebrates it together and it doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, Chinese etc., you’re in there together.
Given the current climate, how can people celebrate Pride virtually?
Virtual pride can be done. Some of my clients are doing a virtual pride and the LGBT network is doing a virtual pride. You can do it in various different ways. You could have speakers like you would at Pride events or drinks at home to celebrate it.
It’s disappointing that the events have had to be cancelled as it’s a time for us to get together as a community to celebrate being gay, but virtually you can keep waving that flag.
What has been your favourite Pride experience?
I’ve been to many Prides. In Gran Canaria, London, Brighton, even the local regional ones. The best one was the local Reading Pride. It’s great having a town local to you celebrating in the community rather than just a main one.
When I first came out I went to my first Pride and I was there at the beginning of the March. At the beginning, they have a great big rainbow flag and before they take off for the march they lift it up and literally the hairs on my arms stood up. For a brief second it was like the heavens opened and it was the first time I felt accepted. It was an amazing feeling seeing that flag going up. You always remember your first pride.
A lot of companies are celebrating Pride right now but can you explain what ‘pink washing’ means?
It’s companies that tend to only celebrate and get their brand out there at particular times. In June, they try and push their brand then the rest of the year they don’t do anything. That is why it’s so important for companies to back up that support of Pride and celebrate LGBT throughout the year.
Pink washing is when companies use it to their advantage rather than being authentic. It’s when companies use it for their corporate gain and as a marketing ploy and a political strategy to promote their brand but only at a certain time of the year.
Thank you Natasha, and happy Pride !