Pride, Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion – Here’s What They Mean To Me

This year, Gravesham Pride is back. What’s more? ellenor will be back, too.

Last year, our ellenor team had a stall at Gravesham Pride – which they’ll be appearing at for a second time in 2023.

It’s exciting news, and a continuation of ellenor’s long-standing commitment to, and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) work with – the LGBTQ+ community. And, as someone who’s been working with the charity for five years now, it means a lot to me.

I’m Basia – and I write stories for ellenor.

I love shining a light on the amazing patients, and their family members, under ellenor’s care. As well as speaking to and spotlighting the remarkable personalities and roles of ellenor’s team. I’m passionate about the power of storytelling – the ability of words and narratives to have a real impact, and positively influence people’s lives.

But there’s something else I’m passionate about. Something that, every time Gravesham Pride or London Pride rolls around, I find myself desperate to talk about.

But something that should be talked about every day.

I’m talking, of course, about inclusivity; diversity; equality; acceptance; togetherness. A recognition of love in any and all of the forms it takes.

I identify as a heterosexual female. But for me, that makes it no less important that I speak about, write about – and attend events that celebrate – the LGBTQ+ community. Why?

It’s about giving people a safe space to be themselves. Their true selves. Their full, unadulterated selves. Without having to wear a mask forced upon them by society. Or temper their personalities to fit a mould they feel they have to.

Pride events – in all their vibrancy and vivid colour – make for invigorating, intoxicating atmospheres. But beyond the music, the dancing, the delicious food, Pride events are really about one thing. Providing a platform for people – a social group that’s historically been marginalised by society – to have a voice.

The world has, of course, come a long way in its recognition, and understanding, of diversity. But there’s still a heck of a way to go.

Which is why, for the LGBTQ+ community, Pride events – particularly local ones, like Dartford and Gravesham Pride – are so important.

They break down barriers. Shatter stigmas, and stereotypes, around people who identify as transgender, or gay, or bisexual, or lesbian. And encourage empathy – helping those who aren’t part of the LGBTQ+ community understand the lived experiences of those who are.

At this stage, you might be asking – ‘what do hospice care and Pride have to do with each other?’ – and it’s a fair question.

The answer? Quite simply, it’s… everything!

I’m often struck by the parallels between the push for diversity in a wider setting – the plight to recognise and include people from all cultures, religions, genders, and sexual identities – and hospice care.

For one, both face uphill battles to constantly raise awareness around who they are – and what they do.

For the LGBTQ+ community, it’s about increasing the visibility, and knowledge of, the distinct and diverse identities that exist outside of heteronormative culture. For hospice charities, it’s educating the wider world around what hospice care actually is. That hospices aren’t simply ‘places where people go to die’. But are actually about helping people reclaim their quality of life – however many months, or weeks, or days, they have left.

Another parallel between the LGBTQ+ community and hospice care? They’re both characterised by environments of welcome – of inclusivity – rather than judgment.

At ellenor, we care for people of all beliefs and identities. Sikhs; Christians; Muslims; Hindus; Jews. People of all ages – from babies, all the way to people who’ve been living for over a century – and people from all backgrounds and ways of life: be they LGBTQ+-identifying, or from the local traveller, gypsy, or homeless communities.

Because, though Pride events are there to promote the LGBTQ+ community as a social group – and place their dignity, self-affirmation, and empowerment at the fore – they’re also about equality. They speak to and shout about the truth that everyone – whoever they choose to sleep with, whatever the colour of their skin, whichever God they pray to – is, at the end of the day, equal.

Like I said, it’s something we should be talking about every day. Not simply a message, to be shared once or paid lip service to, but a philosophy; a principle.

Equality is a movement, a way of life. And you don’t need to be part of the LGBTQ+ community to live it.

So this year, get down to your local Pride event. Sample the food, move your feet to the music, and drink in the brilliant atmosphere. Talk to people. Make new friends. (And be sure, of course, to get to ellenor’s stall, and find out more about what we do – or even just for a chat with our team!)

Most of all, though, don’t be content to simply attend Pride. Talk about it; write about it; take pictures at it; get your friends involved. Heck, volunteer at it!

But whatever you do, don’t close the book on Pride once it’s done – once the crowds have gone home, and those rainbow-coloured flags have been packed away for another year.

Why? Because even those who, like me, aren’t part of the LGBTQ+ community, can still be allies to it.

We can do our part, every day, to educate ourselves on how we can support this inspiring, instrumental group of diverse individuals. And help ensure that, while each Pride event may only happen once a year, its effects are felt every hour – in a society that’s equal, safe, empathetic, and inclusive.

For everyone.