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Keele lecturer helps organise major online Pride festival

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A Keele University lecturer has helped organise Amnesty International UK's online Pride festival which starts today.

Dr Senthorun Raj, from Keele’s School of Law, is part of Amnesty International UK’s Rainbow Network Committee, who are joining forces with UK Black Pride, Stonewall, Gendered Intelligence and ParaPride to bring Pride celebrations indoors with Pride Inside. 

The two week-long festival will commence on Sunday 28 June and will include an online series of gigs, comedy shows, panel discussions, and arts-based events.

The line-up includes an exciting array of LGBTI+ comedians, artists, DJs, musicians and activists.  

Pride remains as important as ever. The Covid-19 pandemic is having a disproportionate effect on LGBTI+ people across the globe, who are historically discriminated against in their access to health care, employment, housing and basic services. This is particularly acute for marginalised groups within the LGBTI+ community, such as people seeking asylum, trans and intersex people, and religious minorities. Pride Inside will raise awareness of the adversity faced by LGBTI+ people both in the UK and around the world and provide opportunities for people to take action, make change, and build community using online spaces.

Dr Raj said: “Covid-19 won’t stop us celebrating LGBTI+ rights. This year, Pride will be inside – in our homes and in our hearts.

“When it has been unsafe at home or school or in the workplace to be ‘out’ as who you are, online spaces have been lifelines to help many LGBTI+ people connect with others in our communities. Pride Inside is a partnership between different groups to build on that connectivity and create various spaces for our communities to celebrate who we are and who we love. That’s why this year, it’s more important than ever that LGBTI+ people and their allies have a chance to come together, celebrate how far we’ve come as a movement and support each other where we still have further to go.

"This is a community event it's about building people's connections, recharging people, giving them a space to hopefully feel a  bit comfortable, because we know with everything going on in the world right now, it has been quite depressing for a number of people. We know that people's social connections are really frayed at the moment and people are feeling alienated, depressed and distressed more so than usual so we wanted to use this as an opportunity to bring people together.

"People want to be able to find forum's to connect with each other and this is especially the case because for a lot of LGBT people, there are examples at the moment of increasing hostility at home, domestic abuse, increased feelings of alienation and isolation which are unique for young people in particular.

“We invite all friends and allies to join us for Pride Inside to show that we’ll always be proud – no matter what, no matter where.”

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