Procession with Pride. Deeds Not Words
Article by Kathryn Pierce | Photo by www.jotennant.com
I was fortunate enough to be a participant in the Processions 2018 march in Edinburgh on June 10th, and what an amazing experience it was. The march marked the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People’s Act, which gave some women the right to vote. I have never before felt the depth of power and energy from being side-by-side with thousands and thousands of other women all celebrating our democratic right (and, arguably, human right) to vote, in honour of our sisters who fought hard and risked their lives for us.
It was also very powerful being a lesbian woman on the march, and feeling the love and support of the giant tribe of womanhood around me, as we brought the city to a standstill and waved and sang proudly through the streets. It felt like a giant Gender Pride, with a special magic that comes from celebrating and honouring struggle and hard-earned rights, one which the LGBT+ community knows only too well. In a year which has continued to see trans people struggle and fight for the right to be themselves, the march also honoured both my cis-ters and my sisters, and for that I will always remember it.
Using creativity and cultural outputs enabling and celebrating social change is very dear to my heart. Following a homophobic hate crime in Manchester in 2014 (the award-winning ‘Safe to Sing’ campaign), as then co-Chair of Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus, we took to the city’s trams to sing in protest following the attack, and the idea for my new social enterprise ‘Somewhere’ was born. Three years on and after incubating the idea alongside a postgraduate Enterprise Masters at Manchester Business School, Somewhere is launching in Edinburgh, and our pioneering LGBT+ culture and enterprise hub has a strong determination to make a real difference to people’s lives.
“It was also very powerful being a lesbian woman on the march, and feeling the love and support of the giant tribe of womanhood around me, as we brought the city to a standstill and waved and sang proudly through the streets.”
Thousands of women marched through Edinburgh | Photos by Thomas Anderson
“It felt like a giant Gender Pride, with a special magic that comes from celebrating and honouring struggle and hard-earned rights, one which the LGBT+ community knows only too well.”
Make art, make noise, make change. This is what Somewhere will do through innovative culture and enterprise projects and partnerships, enabling and championing LGBT+ people to live authentically. As Millicent Fawcett so rightly said, “Courage calls to courage everywhere” and that is true for all marginalised people, and especially for marginalised LGBT+ women. And for that we will always be grateful to her, the NUWSS, the WSPU and all the women who campaigned and protested as part of the suffrage movement.
Kathryn Pierce is the founder of Somewhere, the UK’s new LGBT+ Culture and Enterprise hub, recently incorporated as Somewhere EDI Community Interest Company. The hub is setting up new and innovative partnerships and projects, and will be launching over the summer. To find out more visit www.somewhereEDI.org, or @SomewhereEDI on Facebook and Twitter.