Celebrating Pride with pride


Finding your space: Dorset Mind volunteer Annabel Goddard looks at how to participate in Pride when you’re still questioning your identity


The 7th of July 2024 sees the Sherborne Pride coming out for the very first time, celebrating equality and diversity for the LGBTQIA+ community. Pride festivals occur up and down the country, with parades and fun for the whole family. We love celebrating the positive parts of sexuality and gender, but what do you do when you’re not feeling like celebrating yet?

Feeling pressure
If you’re questioning your sexuality or gender, it can be disheartening to not know if you can join in with Pride celebrations comfortably. It can feel like something additional to navigate, on top of questioning your identity, and can even pressure you to label yourself prematurely. It’s important to remember that your identity is yours, and nobody else’s: you don’t need a label. You don’t have to put yourself into a box to become accepted, and even if you’re not sure, everyone is welcome to join Pride celebrations regardless of their gender identity or sexuality!
If you’re really not ready to come out or accept yourself, you should feel no pressure to. Pride will be there waiting for you another time.

Feeling left out
You may already be secure in your identity, but you might not have a support network you can talk to who will understand. LGBTQIA+ issues can include depression and low self-esteem. Make sure, if you can, to find a reliable, trustworthy family member or friend who you can talk to about these issues. For more specific LGBTQIA+ support, there is information on the Dorset Mind website which can help you to build more specific support, such as the MindOut LGBTQIA+ Wellbeing Group. These issues can often intersect with cultural and religious problems which can make it tougher to be you. If you find yourself struggling with your mental health, it’s important that you take care of yourself. If you’re able to, speak to your GP who will provide you with directions to support.

How to support loved ones
It can be tricky to navigate LGBTQIA+ issues as someone who doesn’t identify that way. While nobody expects you to become an expert overnight, it is important to remember that gender and sexuality are two extremely different and diverse concepts. To make a person questioning their identity feel accepted, you just need to listen to them and do your best to understand. There is detailed information about LGBTQIA+ identities on dorsetmind.uk, which could help you to begin. At the core of it all, however, we’re all still human, and everyone, especially those struggling with their identity, deserves love and kindness. A wonderful way to show support as an ally would be, if you can, to go to Pride with that person and join in the celebration. The community is overwhelmingly accepting and kind, and open to everyone, as long as they’re respectful.

Support for you:
Visit dorsetmind.uk for local mental health support and for advice on ways to keep mentally healthy
MindOut LGBTQIA+ Wellbeing Group 6pm to 8pm every Wednesday online https://bit.ly/DM_MindOut
Call Samaritans for free 24/7 emotional support on
116 123
Call Dorset’s mental health helpline Connection for support on NHS
0800 652 0190
Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline call 0300 330 0630
10am to 10pm daily
Call 999 if someone is in immediate danger or harm


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