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Published: 19/06/2020

Celebrating Pride 2020

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This week we caught up with Phil Turner, Payzone Head of Retail Proposition, about what Pride means to him and how he will be celebrating this year.

 

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As an ally of the LGBT+ community, why is Pride important to you?

Phil: It’s about recognising some of the struggles that the LGBT+ community has gone through to get to this stage. It’s a celebration of those early walks; I lived in London in the 80's and saw how things started off there. The marches were recognition that people were oppressed - not too dissimilar from some of the turmoil and struggles you see from the Black Lives Matter movement today.

It’s recognising those problems of the past; those first Pride marches that took place with police violence and unjust laws. Highlighting some of the battles that people have had to go through to get to a stage where the community is recognised; it’s about celebrating that.

How did you support Pride last year and how will this year be different?

Phil: Last year some of my Payzone colleagues attended the Manchester Pride march alongside Post Office, which is something we would have looked to do again this year. This year will be different without marches, but that’s not to say we can’t celebrate. 

We’ve changed our email signatures in support of Pride this month, but it’s important to acknowledge that Pride is more than just the month of June; it’s a whole year round thing.

On 27 June Pride organisations around the world are going to come together for up to 24 hours of live streamed events. We’ll be encouraging everyone to join in and take pictures of themselves celebrating so that we can share them, and we have a weekly Payzone drinks where we’ll mark the occasion too. 

A good friend of mine, Craig Burton, set up something called Friends of Dorothy – a UK based social group supporting older members of the LGBT+ community who face greater risks of social isolation.

Through events and gatherings, we’re able to provide LGBT people over the age of 55 with a social circle, and during lockdown we’ve even had some famous faces joining in.

Before the pandemic it was more board games, walks and trips to the theatre, and now it’s Zoom meetings with the same mission of keeping people entertained, informed and giving them some social currency – a reason to ring somebody and tell them what they’ve been up to.

It’s a really lovely thing in the sense that it’s a monthly meeting for older members of the LGBT+ community across Leeds to connect, learn, have fun and share stories. It’s a really nice thing to be involved in.

We often associate Pride and all its vibrancy with younger people, but older members of the community have been through the struggle. The generation has grown up around and most likely been subject to discrimination due to their sexuality, especially considering the fact that it was illegal to be gay until 1967.

What can people do to support Pride?

Phil: There are lots of ways people can get involved. I also do an 80's music podcast with a friend of mine, and we’re going to do an LGBT+ Pride podcast special to celebrate some of the great music that came through from the 80's.

I remember the Bronksi Beat single was one of the first records that celebrated gay music, but at the time we didn’t realise the impact. It was all based on a guy called Michael Bronski who wrote A Queer History of the United States, whereas we just thought this is a great song. That’s why it’s great being able to celebrate and educate through music.

 

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