Pride 2022: unity, inclusion and equality

The richness and diversity of London is one of my favorite things about our capital.

My memories of my childhood in London are filled with a series of events like the Notting Hill Carnival, the demonstrations in Parliament Square and the Pride celebrations that spread to the streets of Soho.

After a two-year delay of in-person events due to the pandemic, they’re back in full swing and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person excited about it.

Last weekend, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee was a prime example of events returning to what they once were before the pandemic.

This month across the UK another monumental and significant celebration will take place, Pride 2022. Towns and cities across the UK will celebrate by coming together.

If one thing has become clear to me over the past two years, it’s the importance of community, relationships and our loved ones. For me, Pride certainly sums it up.

Seeing a sea of ​​rainbow colored flags, twinkling faces and smiles, combined with a sense of purpose, openness, togetherness and community is what I think when I think back to my first Pride in London.

Behind the Pride Month celebrations and parades is an important message, one to remember – commemorating the date of the Stonewall Riots in 1969.

In the UK, Pride 2022 will be very special, marking 50 years since the first Pride event was held in 1972. Support for this annual event has increased dramatically. The first event in 1972 drew around 2,000 attendees. Fast forward to 2022 and the event can attract around 1.5 million people.

To honor and recognize the movement, the Royal Mint “will celebrate the 50e anniversary of the first Pride UK event with a 50 pence coin, marking the first time the British LGBTQ+ community has been celebrated on a British coin.

Reflecting on milestones, where we are and what needs to change, Stonewall’s Pride Report 2022 has revealed some interesting findings regarding attitudes towards LGBTQ+ communities in the UK public.

The charity’s research showed that “the UK is a country that prides itself on being inclusive; a place where its people are increasingly embracing their LGBTQ+ neighbours, colleagues, family and friends,” adding that it “adds an extra color to the beautiful picture painted by other research. YouGov polls show more than seven in 10 Britons would support someone close to them who has come out as LGBTQ+, and more people now feel comfortable being like themselves.

However, as presented in the Stonewall report, there are still challenges to overcome with “minority views being presented as fact in our media and in our politics”.

All the more reason to participate in Pride Month to create a fairer, safer and more equal society.

As we’ve seen in previous years, many companies and brands will show their support for the LGBTQ+ community by launching limited-edition products or Pride-focused campaigns, and this year is no different. Brands as juxtaposed as Oreo cookies to Bratz dolls.

As New roses reports that “every year, brands are criticized for chasing the ‘pink book’ with their Pride apparel and ignoring LGBT+ people for the rest of the year.”

While it’s great to see brands recognizing and supporting Pride Month, they raise an important question. How authentic are these brands?

It’s important to get a feel for a brand’s authenticity or whether it could just jump on the bandwagon and appear on a rainbow print.

In order to create change and promote inclusiveness, AOPs 100% respectful campaign aims to unite optometry against discrimination.

As part of the campaign, AOP offers a range of anti-discrimination resources to help employers and employees, downloadable resources for you and your organization to help create respect in your workplace and a guide to legal and regulatory framework.

AOP also encourages everyone working in the optical industry, from individuals to businesses, to take a stand against discrimination so that as an industry we speak out on equality and inclusion. .

To mark the pride this year, why not pledge to call for 100% respect?

The TO recently launched a new feature, It’s time to talk, describing how discrimination in the workplace affects eyecare professionals. You can read this in our June/July issue, landing this weekend.

If you identify as LGBTQ+ and have experienced workplace discrimination, we would like to hear from you. If you would like to share your story, please contact SelinaP[email protected]