Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity & Inclusion Staff Group

Pride and Social Media

LGBTQ+ Pride is a tribute to the Stonewall Riots that took place in New York City in the early hours of June of 28th1969, when police raided a gay club based in Greenwich Village, NYC. This sparked a riot between neighbourhood residents and bar patrons against police as they removed employees and bar patrons from the club resulting in six days of protests and violent encounters with law enforcement. The Stonewall Riots served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.

Brenda Howard, also known as the “Mother of Pride”, started organising a week of events to celebrate gay rights and the LGBT community, and this flourished into an annual event that has taken place every June for the past 50 years. As time went on, the world started to change from sharing information, tragic events and spreading awareness through just word of mouth, to via newspapers, news shows, friends, and family to sharing via virtual platforms such as social media.

Social media has become one of the most popular and influential platforms to showcase politics, advertise businesses, or share personal videos and pictures. For the LGBTQ+ community, it has been utilised by charities, activists, and influencers to create an online community of support, awareness and information by breaking the barriers of physical boundaries. Any person, regardless of their location, can find support and a sense of belonging online.

It has become a fundamental part of modern-day Pride celebrations with most LGBTQ+ charities and activists having an online presence. The official Pride Instagram account has 1 million followers and 26.4k followers on Twitter. Similarly, the UK Black Pride account has 51.2k followers on Instagram, Pride in London has 53k, LA Pride 30k – and there are many, many more accounts associated with Pride Month and the LGBTQ+ community. Platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Tik Tok provide an outlet for global conversations where everyone is encouraged to participate and learn, whether that is about historic battles for LGBTQ+ rights, present day struggles, or empowering and supporting others. Whilst the Pride parades are a way to celebrate the progress made on LGBTQ+ rights, social media is a way for those not openly able to celebrate Pride to still participate and engage in both the celebrations and the fight to raise awareness of global socio-political struggles that threaten inequality.

Whilst the political side of social media is prominent, social media also provides a platform where creativity, ingenuity and content can be shared. Using social media has allowed LGBTQ+ artists to showcase and grow their talent whilst building their audience.

As the world moved increasingly online the connection between social media, Pride and the wider LGBT community has continued to grow. This is true more than ever in a year where face-to-face interactions have been limited due to Covid restrictions and Pride parades have been forced to cancel. Social Media and online connections have allowed those celebrations to continue and will still be a prominent part of Pride when in-person celebrations can resume.

Lucy Wharton and Kereiss Isles, CIPA

Date published: 29 June 2021

(1) Pride, @pride Instagram

(2) Stonewall UK, @stonewalluk Instagram

(3) Lena Waithe, @lenawaithe Instagram

(4) Jonathan Van Ness, @jvn Instagram

(5) Bimini Bon Boulash, @biminibabes Instagram

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