Recently, Channel 4 ran a campaign called ‘Altogether Different’. It contained familiar faces crammed into small boxes, limbs bent double, hands pushing against the claustrophobic space, bodies leaping to be free.
Each and every one of us who participated is either a member of the LGBTQ + community, has a hidden disability, is a colored person, is a woman, or … or what?
Or have longed to be accepted, I decided.
Whether it is carrying the shame of the scars on the body, having parents who do not conform to the norm, or navigating the changing landscape of our own identity, we all feel outside the box that society has created for us. And it’s just me talking.
That’s why I consider myself fortunate to have been asked to guest edit Metro.co.uk’s Lifestyle section for the site’s Pride takeover. It’s a chance for all of us to connect, share and scream from your own personal rainbow float, Dua Lipa’s throat command: ‘Do not be afraid of your freedom!’
What gives us our freedom is the name we give ourselves – our label.
As I sat with the lifestyle team in the Metro offices, labels became a hot topic.
Jess is a bisexual person with ADHD who today writes about the unexpected benefits of being a U-Haul lesbian, as well as a piece that explores where on earth all the lesbian bars have gone.
Natalie is a colored woman who is passionate about highlighting the layered experiences of colored LGBTQ + people.
Ellen is a bisexual white woman with OCD whose focus is on sharing stories about sex – how do we deal with the nerves of same-sex love for the very first time? It’s a question that every curious person asks themselves at some point – regardless of sexual identity.
It is the curiosity in these pieces that helps us connect and learn – to bind ourselves to our chosen tribe.
When I was asked the inevitable question of how I like to feel about myself – lesbian, bisexual or even but with a twist – my answer was unequivocal. I do not have a label. I’m just Anna. Not realizing that our name is the most important label of all.
But if you’re interested, then I’m a clergywoman, with a queer family who has loved both men and women and would like to adopt as an LGBTQ + parent.
I have had my heart broken, and my dreams broken, but I will never give up hope. I have experienced the ignorance of others who do not understand what it means to love in another way. And like everyone else reading this issue, I want to live in a world where diversity is not just tolerated – it is welcome.
It’s 50 years since the first official Gay Pride rally – with the participation of around 2,000 people demanding visibility, equality and change. Thanks to the pioneers who went before us, it now attracts about 1.5 million people.
The LGBTQ + family is really just that – a family. With large rainbow arms, ready to welcome you.
Happy Pride 2022! Do not be afraid of your freedom, whatever it looks like.
Love, Anna x
MORE: Seven nail art ideas for your next femme icure
MORE: Does your dating pool expand to more genders? Here’s how to navigate your nerves
MORE: Best LGBTQ + travel and events around the world to book now
Metro.co.uk celebrates 50 years of Pride
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pride, so it’s only fitting that Metro.co.uk goes beyond our ongoing LGBTQ + support through a wealth of content that not only pays homage to everything Pride, but also shares stories, time to reflect and create awareness for the community in this Pride month.
MORE: Find all of Metro.co.uk’s Pride coverage right here
And we also have some good names on board to help us. From a list of famous guest editors who take over the site in a week that includes Rob Rinder, Nicola Adams, Peter Tatchell, Kimberly Hart-Simpson, John White, Anna Richardson and Dr. Ranjwe also have likes Sir Ian McKellen and Drag Race stars Vivienne, Lawrence Chaney and Tia Kofi offers their insight.
During Pride Month, which runs from June 1 to 30, Metro.co.uk will also support Kyiv Pride, a Ukrainian charity forced to work harder than ever to protect the rights of the LGBTQ + community in times of conflict. To find out more about their work and what you can do to support them, click here.