From the moment each and every one of us wakes up, we enter into a world which tells us who we are, who we should be, who we could be and who we won’t or can’t be. Our families, our friends, people we do and don’t get along with, our peers at work and complete strangers are constantly present - aware of each other, and of the collective.
No matter how your childhood was, how your’e coping with getting older, what challenges you have faced in the past or are about to face, or where you call home - we all crave acceptance to some degree.
The craving is so primal, we often subconsciously dismiss that we are, in fact, one of the collective, that our choices actually do affect others.
Yet we sometimes convince ourselves it’s just us, on our own. A contradiction - maybe to cope with the varying degrees of the absence of acceptance in our own lives, or around us? I sometimes think the biggest misunderstandings arise from this.
The thoughts we have.
The words we choose to speak.
The actions which arise from these words - they all carry an intention.
But love has always been there, since the beginning of time.
Long before the 1970’s, and further afield then San Francisco, the words began to form. Over many years they got louder, to challenge the silence, and become more distinct. People have given up their lives, lost their nearest and dearest, over a struggle for acceptance.
The SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) ruling on the 26th of June was one point where the thoughts which created the words finally culminated in the decisive action. A step towards global unity.
I’ve been trying to put into words what acceptance feels like.
To me, it felt like a million faces, beaming like the sudden sun, smiling because of the knowledge that they were here in time, on this day, alive and well, and able to celebrate in this victory, together. To all those whose thoughts became words, to all those who resisted, and to those who fought - this day was a testament to the fact that your time, your energy and effort were not in vain. Thank you.
I asked some fellow London Pride attendees to share their thoughts on the day…
“Pride has always been a special place for me. As a daunted and overwhelmed 16 year old, I made that fateful journey to central London not knowing what to expect. In a rather naive and innocent way, all I wanted to see were other gay people, just like me. To know that one day, I might be accepted as one of them, and who knows, be lucky enough to join in the parade. This weekend, that dream came true.”
“I get that marriage is seen as a religious agreement, and has been for centuries (but not millennia). I get that gay marriage is seen to be undermining the sacrament. The thing is, no one gets social security, healthcare benefits, child benefits, adoption rights, citizenship rights and tax breaks based on other religious sacraments. So if you're wanting to keep the "sacred" sacred, then keep marriage out of law. Let's re-name the legal agreements and obligations between two adult consenting couples something else and 'marriage' can be as legally relevant as baptism. And if you can't imagine that happening, then you should understand why gay marriage is a right, not an attempt to irritate those with fundamentalist views.”
“As well as being a huge and surprising leap forward on what has always been a very emotive and volatile issue in the States, the SCOTUS decision was also a huge HUGE relief for me personally, as I'm eloping to Las Vegas in September! When I booked this just a few weeks ago, same-sex marriage was legal in Nevada having been back and forth through the courts for the last six years; had the Supreme Court ruled that it was a matter for each state to decide, chances are it would have been back in court before I could say 'I do' and all our plans and all that money would have been wasted. Now we can relax and pick the tunes..”
Here are some more pictures from the day...