Editor’s comment: It’s great to see Hackney host black pride

Haggerston Park will be hosting black pride this year. Picture: BLACK PRIDE

Haggerston Park will be hosting black pride this year. Picture: BLACK PRIDE - Credit: Archant

A number of people have contacted us this week – mainly but not entirely through social media – to complain about Haggerston Park hosting a black pride event over the summer.

People have asked us: isn’t that discriminatory? They say: imagine the outcry if a white heterosexual march were held! And so on. (It’s funny how people rarely ring me up at 8pm on a Tuesday to call out racism against actual minority groups.)

The event is not my work, and I am not black, so I will not presume to speak for the people who organised it. But what I will say is this: they have our full support and respect for doing so.

The LGBT community, of which I am part, isn’t as inclusive as it should be. Racism exists within queer spaces just as it, sadly, exists within the wider world. Likewise, homophobia and transphobia exist within all communities. Racist, homophobic and transphobic crime are realities, just as it is a reality that less obvious discrimination still lies behind so many of our country’s institutions and attitudes, though we might not like to think of ourselves as racist individuals.

Imagine being a queer person of colour and facing both of those challenges at the same time every day of your life. Wouldn’t you want a space where you could safely be yourself and celebrate your community?

I am proud to be gay but honestly I still feel like a bit of a target if I walk down the street, even in London, holding hands with my husband, if I kiss one of my friends in public, if I walk or talk in a certain way – and I hate that.

When I do feel brave and behave like myself, bad things hardly ever happen. But I am not imagining the threat. It should not require a risk assessment to be ourselves and to feel safe and accepted while doing it.

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Even if we lived in a world where hate crime did not exist, where politicians were criticised instead of celebrated for making racist comments, where education outcomes and employment and the criminal justice system favoured everyone equally, it would be reasonable for anyone to want the freedom to safely celebrate their identity and their community.

Given that we do not live in that world, do I really need to finish this sentence?