It’s busy, crowded, and hectic. You grip your friend’s hand as you navigate through the overspill of people from the Soho bars. You collide into a stranger, and they’ll spill their pint on you. Your friend has already disappeared. You’ll find them at the next bar? You type out “Where are you…” but as you press send, you hear your friend shouting your name. You frantically wave and bellow “don’t move!”.

Shoving your way through the crowd, you are wary of the curbs. The pavement is now a sea of glitter, feathers, and confetti. Mini rainbow flags lay trampled in the gutters. You’re pulled into the nearest bar. You order a drink and soak in the atmosphere. It’s hot and the air is muggy. Pride flags line the dusty ceiling and the DJ blasts Gaga’s Bad Romance. Everyone is dancing, laughing, and drinking, and celebrating.

This is Pride

This year, I experienced Pride with BM’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion committee. I weighed up the negatives and positives. Could spending a Saturday with work be worth the positive impact of a new experience? Would it be worth it? Would I make friends? Could I be myself?

To feel safe and to be able to be yourself at work is rare. The nature of any workplace is to present challenges. Finding a company which already thinks you are enough is the biggest challenge yet. BM’s passion for food and it’s sense of community and love of individuality, oozes out. It’s supportive and wants its team to be itself. I am proud to be a part of a workplace which cheers people on for who they are. Celebrating Pride with BM was everything I hoped it would be.

Accepting, uplifting, and inspiring

At Pride’s core, it is a protest. It began as an uprising after the police raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York City in 1969. It is a rebellion against being unseen, oppressed, and pushed aside. Stonewall has powered the ongoing LGBTQ+ rights movement. 54 years later, this refusal to conform and accept anything but equality is prevalent. Many members of the LGBTQ+ community still feel unable to live without discrimination. There is still a long way to go before society opens it arms with full acceptance. Even if we are on the way.

Pride is powerful and incredible to be a part of. The refusal to hide who you are or live life as though you are in some way not enough, is empowering. Pride offers a haven of self-expression and self-acceptance. It’s existence challenges discrimination and get us one step further towards equality. It gives a community which is often disregarded visibility and a united voice. The message of Pride is hard to ignore.

You deserve to take up space. You are already enough.

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