Rethink Mental Illness at London Pride 2017
Digital team's blog
This year we attended our first London Pride and received an overwhelming positive response from the audience as we marched in the parade.
We’ve also updated out LGBTQ+ factsheet, so if you would like to know more, click here.
Below Fiona, from our fundraising team, tells us how she felt about the day!
A special thank you to Tasha Best for the photography: http://cargocollective.com/tashabestphotography
Rainbow flags, glitter, meeting friends and killer heels. What a great start to a day out in London. But this one was much more special than just displaying fabulous in all its forms.
Many times I’ve been to Pride in London, enjoyed the sense of community it brings, and the utter freedom to just be yourself for a few hours, safely nestled among the hugely diverse community we are.
This one was my first time actually being in the march itself - I’m not fond of being stared at, as a rule. But the opportunity to come as part of a 70-strong group representing the charity I work for, Rethink Mental Illness, was too good to miss. I don’t speak for anyone but myself here – these are just my personal thoughts from how the day went and I think it was a very good day.
We know of the higher incidence of mental illness and suicidal feelings in the LGBTQ+ community. One struggle goes hand in hand with the other: stigma, prejudice, ignorance towards both.
But a sense of community helps both, too.
At London Pride, I was on the verge of tears, being just overwhelmed with the positive reactions we received. The march itself started hours late, but once we knew why – the ‘Keep Pride a Protest’ group - I for one was ok with that.
Pride has become much more commercial, but making a public display of the good being done by corporates for the LGBTQ+ community is positive, and the money they provide is helping people.
It’s more inclusive now, with more varied community-within-community groups, and all of them are important. Everyone should have a voice.
And as we paraded through crowded London streets, you could really see people read the charity name on our banners, on our t-shirts, and then the cheers got louder! There were whoops, and comments that people were “so glad” we were there, and I tried not to cry. I think we belonged there this weekend.
We ran out of promotional materials and merchandise halfway down the march: business cards (with our web address for factsheets); logo stickers and badges. Many teams within our charity had clubbed together to keep costs low and still make our presence valuable to our audience, but next year we’ll take many more than a thousand of each!
If you would like to know more about the LGBTQ+ community and mental health, you can download our factsheet here.