What Pride means to mePosted: 23rd June 2022
To many I realise that Pride month may seem fun, colourful and an annual welcome expression of people’s identity.
To others it may seem over the top, unnecessary in the current climate (as we have come so far both in influencing society and changing the law) and some may even go as far as to say it is provocative.
I admit that I understand both opinions!
In writing this piece I thought I have to consider why is Pride important to me?
I am a gay, male, married and now a father of a wonderful little boy.
I might seem your archetypical ‘Stepford gay’ (a phrase I have been called once before) who has benefited very much so from the sacrifices of others and all of the societal changes in the past 50 years+ since the Stonewall Riots mobilised those marginalised to push for change.
I have. I accept that, however, I still firmly believe that Pride has a place.
Throughout my life I have faced, and continue to face, challenges as a direct result of my sexuality:
- I was brought up in a religious family – I feared rejection.
- I don’t have a large cohort of LGBTQ+ friends – I feared rejection.
- I worked in a Criminal Law where I feared that my colleagues and clients expected heteronormativity
- I, like many LGBTQ+ lawyers, hid my sexuality at work from all but a chosen few
- I have been the subject of derogatory comments throughout my life
- I have been verbally and physically assaulted as a direct result of my sexuality
- I have to be mindful as to which clients/professional colleagues I share my personal story with for fear of alienating myself
- I do not use my marital name at work (which is my choice) in part due to the connotations that client/colleagues will draw from this.
In my opinion, this is why I still think Pride has a place.
There is still work to be done. Some of that change is with the LGBTQ+ person themselves to grow in confidence and trust that they will be welcomed. However, in order for that change to happen, society has to create safe spaces for LGBTQ+ to be their authentic selves.
I hope through sharing my experiences and demonstrating with confidence my identity I might support another colleague, client, friend or stranger who identifies as LGBTQ+ (or is simply questioning) with their journey whilst recognising that everybody’s story is different and personal to them. I also hope that in sharing these experiences we can learn, build and develop safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people to flourish!
Blog written by Michael Costelloe, a Chartered Legal Executive in our Court of Protection Property & Affairs team.