Love is Love
Celebrating Pride Month!
Pride Month is celebrated every year in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots that took place in New York in June 1969 and sparked the start of the modern LGBT rights movement. In the UK, it kicks off a season of Pride events happening across the country throughout the summer. As well as being a celebration of sexual diversity, these events also provide an opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made so far towards achieving equality and to highlight the work that still needs to be done to eliminate the discrimination and LGBTQ+-phobia that so many people around the world sadly continue to face.
As an organisation, the Medigold Health Group has always been committed to ensuring that every one of our employees is treated fairly and made to feel included, no matter what their sexuality or gender or how they identify.
We’re proud to fly the rainbow flag and show our support for the LGBTQ+ community and in honour of the occasion, we caught up with some of our colleagues to find out just what Pride means to them.
First up, we chatted with Alexander Harrison, one of our Customer Service Advisors based in Sheffield.
What does Pride mean to you?
Pride is an opportunity for all of us, in or out of the LGBTQ+ community, to honour the experiences and struggles of the people that stood firmly behind the belief that love is never wrong, from the streets of New York in the Stonewall Riots, to activism to raise awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS on the gay community, to campaigning to secure the passage of equal marriage for same-sex couples in the UK.
It’s about awareness, education, and remembrance but set amidst a typically jolly and rainbow-clad atmosphere!
Do you do anything to celebrate Pride?
The LGBTQ+ community hasn’t been immune to COVID and a lot of our celebrations and commemorative events that usually take place up and down the country haven’t been able to go ahead. So, this year, I’m celebrating Pride by continuing to unapologetically put the ‘G’ into LGBTQ+ and enjoying life as the weather gets warmer and we finish easing out of lockdown.
What do you think people can do to raise awareness about important issues that impact the global LGBTQ+ community?
Conversation and awareness are the most important elements of Pride; it’s a time for us all to look outwards and present the case for continued activism. The fight for equality isn’t over, we still have a plethora of issues to address. Increased inclusion, protection from discrimination, the banning of ‘conversion therapy’, and the introduction of LGBTQ+-friendly sex education are four things in particular that we can actively campaign for in the UK to make our community safer and happier. In terms of the global LGBTQ+ community, we need to continue to raise awareness of the treatment of our brothers and sisters in certain parts of the world, where it is still illegal to love whom you love. Perhaps it would be a good idea to introduce a precedent that for a country to sign a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK, a specific reference to LGBTQ+ equality has to be agreed upon? Every conversation, every article read, every petition signed helps.
What ways can employers be more LGBTQ+ inclusive?
Employers can create an LGBTQ+ inclusive space by appreciating the diversity of their employees without singling out or allowing colleagues to be made to feel uncomfortable for being ‘out’ in the workplace. All my co-workers are friendly, and the workplace atmosphere is an inclusive one where people from a variety of backgrounds can interact and get to know one another without fear of being judged for who they are. I most definitely don’t have to jump back in the closet when I walk into the office, so thanks Medigold Health!
Lastly, do you have a favourite Pride song or queer anthem?
How can you ask me that?! There are far too many to choose a favourite! I love music and am especially enjoying the number of absolute bangers that have been released recently, particularly Kylie Minogue’s cover of Marry the Night. But, if you insist that I pick just one, I can’t think of a more appropriate anthem for this time of year than Eartha Kitt’s I Love Men. Need I say more?
Next up, we spoke with Jayne Butler, our Pensions Team Leader, who is based in Kent.
Since February, Jayne has been presenting her very own programme on Medway Pride Radio (MPR), a not-for-profit community radio station run by volunteers, which launched in 2021 with the aim of giving a voice to the whole community and promoting equality and diversity across Medway and the surrounding areas.
How do you celebrate Pride and what does it mean to you?
I’ve never really celebrated Pride before and hadn’t really considered what it meant to me until joining MPR earlier this year.
In my mind, all people are human; it doesn’t matter what you look like or who you love, what matters most is that we are alive and can love. So, I guess that’s what Pride is about – it’s a celebration of the rainbow community where everybody can walk with pride and dignity, joining with others to show themselves as who they are, which I think is beautiful.
I have plans to take part in the Medway Pride Festival being held in Medway in August with the other DJs from MPR, and I’m really looking forward to it.
Tell us a bit more about your radio show, Jayne’s World?
I started hosting Jayne’s World back in February this year. The name is partly an homage to the 1992 American comedy film, Wayne’s World, and the show that the title character hosts from his basement, but it also reflects how I live in Jayne’s World all the time!
In the show, I play my favourite music from the soundtracks of classic films, anime features, and TV series, focusing on a different one each week. In every programme, I’ll put together an introduction giving a bit of background about the movie or series, and I try and play the songs in order of appearance as I go through (that’s the administrator in me!).
I’ve done 19 shows to date, covering movies including Kill Bill, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, the Back to the Future Trilogy, and Star Wars; anime films such as Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell, and One Piece (my all-time favourite); and TV series including House M.D., Scrubs, The Simpsons, and Lucifer.
Which international issues affecting the global LGBTQ+ community have been particularly on your mind throughout this month of June, and have you been addressing them on your radio show?
It’s not right that somebody is hurt or killed just because they’re different, yet it still happens all around the world, in 2021. The global LGBTQ+ community continues to face so much discrimination and there are so many issues and difficulties affecting their lives that the challenge can seem overwhelming. There’s so much that I’m not aware of or don’t fully understand, so I don’t think I could really comment.
All I know is that all humans are equal, it does not matter what your packaging is or who you’re with. I just try to share the love with whoever listens through the power of song!
On my show that aired on 15 June, I did look at the brilliant, star-studded 2014 British film Pride, which is based on the true story of the London Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners Group. Founded in 1984, the group built an alliance with the striking miners from a small community in South Wales and the film tells the story of how they both ended up standing in solidarity with one another against the persecution they each were facing at the time. It promotes acceptance and friendship, which is such an important message. It’s a beautiful movie and the soundtrack is cracking!
What do you think people can do during Pride to raise awareness about important issues that impact the global LGBTQ+ community?
I think it’s a personal choice how people celebrate Pride. For me, raising awareness is all about the small things, so simply talking and sharing your experiences with others is a good place to start. Joining in with your local Pride event is also a great way to show support; that’s what I intend to do.
Lastly, do you have a favourite Pride song or queer anthem?
It has to be I Am What I Am by Gloria Gaynor – it’s an all-time classic, with fantastic lyrics.
However, I do also really like Pride by Grace Petrie, a folk singer-songwriter from Leicester – the lyrics really speak about what pride is.
If you’d like to check out Jane’s show, it airs every Tuesday at 9pm and is repeated at 3pm on Sundays on Medway Pride Radio. You can listen to all the programmes (and find out more about MPR) at https://medwayprideradio.co.uk
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