To most of us, 1972 doesn’t sound all that long ago. In fact, homosexuality had only just been decriminalised five years previously, in 1967.
Yet on July 1st, 1972, members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies took to the streets of London, inspired by the radical Stonewall riots in New York. There were veritable waves of banners, placards and people marching, demanding their voices to be heard. Since then, Pride has been a staple of the capital’s yearly celebrations. The need and urgency of Pride has been ever consistent over the years.
Margaret Thatcher’s infamous Section 28, a Local Government Act, prohibited the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ and was being enacted as late as 2003 in England. This has had massive repercussions on society in general. At the time of being made into law in 1988, a survey showed 75% of the British public believed that homosexuality was ‘always or mostly wrong’. Pride, therefore, was- and is- very much a brave and radical thing to involve yourself with. It is taking a stand and demanding equality, despite the backlash and potential violence.
As readers we know that books are the key for knowledge and empathy. They offer us the opportunity to view and be part of something that we may not fully grasp yet, to dip our toes in unfamiliar pools, to stretch our emotional muscles and to ultimately emerge with a sense of deeper understanding and determination to make the world better.
We have come a long way in terms of progress, but there is still far to go. This is the month to remember, to learn and to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. Wade through the rainbow merchandise, pick up a book (or two or three!) and immerse yourself in some interesting and diverse stories of Pride.
If you need any suggestions for what to read, here are some new titles Willoughby are particularly excited to get to!
What will you be reading this Pride month? Let us know in the comments below!