"You are the way you are" - young people preview Pride

Young people from Woolwich Common Youth Hub have been discussing the upcoming Pride in London Parade on Saturday 7 July, which they have created a banner for to show solidarity.

This year, more than 500 LGBTQI+ parade groups will take part in Pride, including a Charlton Athletic delegation which will comprise LGBTQI+ friendly football team Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) Invicta FC and official LGBTQI+ supporters’ group Proud Valiants.

Anthony, 17, said: “Pride to me is a day where people can express their true self. This gives people the confidence and empowerment to stand together but be individuals.”

The first official Pride march took place in 1972, with 2,000 people participating. This year’s event is set to be one of the biggest yet, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to flock to the streets to celebrate LGBTQI+ inclusion.

The young people at Woolwich Common, one of four Young Greenwich youth hubs, believe that attending Pride is important.

Ellie, 13, said: “Some people, especially younger people, might be too insecure to come out. But Pride is a way of showing your true colours.”

Lexus, also 13, said: “I think Pride is a way of showing people they are the way they are. If other people don’t like it, then it’s their problem. If you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all.”

Pride is an event which encourages people to show who they really are, and be proud of it.

13-year-old Tanisha agrees and hopes that more people can be happy in their own skin.

“It’s you, you are the way you are and there’s nothing wrong with that. Everybody is different in their own way,” she explained.

With the World Cup in full swing, the young people reflected on why professional footballers have generally been reluctant to discuss their sexuality publicly.

Ellie added: “There are 32 teams from all around the world [taking part in the World Cup], I think some of these players must be part of the LGBT+ community but they’re too insecure to come out because of judgement.”

Their banner includes Charlton’s Pride in London slogan: All Together, All Proud, All Charlton.

The Pride in London parade will set off from Portland Place in Marylebone, and those involved in the Charlton group will need to arrive by 2.15pm.

Anyone interested in joining the group is encouraged to contact Dr Michael Seeraj, CACT’s Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, on michael.seeraj@cact.org.uk. Everyone involved will get a free #PrideInCharlton t-shirt.

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