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Protest Poetry: Pride & Protest

Updated: Sep 25, 2020

Calling all LGBTQ+ people with something to say!

To keep the spirit of Pride going this year, we are curating a collection of poems with the theme ‘Pride and Protest’. We welcome poems from anyone aged 16+ who identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ communities.

One of our project leaders, Sam Oliver, has written about his experience and understanding of what Pride means to him.

"Pride is a complicated word for me.

I started going to Pride events in my early 20s and my initial experiences weren’t wholly positive. Part of that was about still not feeling comfortable in my own skin. Suddenly I was in a noisy, hedonistic crowd filled with people who seemed full of confidence and proud of loving who they loved. I was a shy, anxious young queer man and didn’t feel like I belonged in a space where I was supposedly meant to feel at home.

Nowadays, I’m a bit older and clearer on who I am and what I like when it comes to queer culture. I’m lucky to live in Brighton, a city where Pride is a relatively inclusive extravaganza that caters to lots of tastes and tempos. But I know that many LGBTQ+ people can still experience feelings of alienation, even within their own communities.

Not all Prides are created equal, whether they’re dominated by corporate bandwagon-jumping or drug and alcohol-fuelled debauchery. Of course we’re lucky that, in non-pandemic times, Prides can go ahead all over the UK with limited resistance. As LGBTQ+ rights are being rolled back or suppressed all over the world, I do feel grateful to be where I am. But there are still plenty of problems closer to home, whether it’s racism within our communities or worrying mental health statistics which have changed remarkably little in recent years.

Though some of my ambivalence about Pride remains, I was sad that it couldn’t go ahead in person this year. Much as I tried to get into the spirit of online celebrations, it just wasn’t the same.

So I’m really pleased to be involved in Unheard Poetry’s new project: Pride and Protest. We are trying to open up a creative, empowering, and accepting Pride space. One where LGBTQ+ people from all backgrounds can creatively voice hope and sadness, anger and joy, and everything in between!

Pride means different things to all of us. Let’s celebrate that."

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