10 June, 2024 - By Margie Cheesman and Leyla Williams

Celebrating Pride

At West London Welcome, we are proud to celebrate Pride.

Many people in the UK might take Pride Month for granted. Not everyone has that luxury.

Refugee rights are LGBTQ+ rights. Homosexuality is illegal in 64 countries, in some punishable by death. Even in countries with legal acceptance of LGBTQ+ rights, being open about your gender identity and sexuality results in marginalization, prejudice and in some cases, violence.  

Many of our members arrived in the UK to be free to love, be who they want, and be who they are, openly. But people’s struggles often don’t stop upon arrival. At West London Welcome we provide casework support to our LGBTQ+ community members in need of support, from ensuring they can access the medical care they need to advocating for them when housing is unsuitable.

But just as essential is our solidarity and community building. Our LGBTQ+ group brings together refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant community members, volunteers, and staff for outings and events – like the recent LGBTQ+ walking tour the group went on (pictured).

 

Our LGBTQ+ group loved exploring London’s queer history with London With a Local recently.

Starting with the Romans and tracing London’s LGBTQ+ history through to the present day, the focus of the walking tour then focused on Soho, Pride and Trans+ Pride for the latter half. The group considered the role of protest as well as individuals who made their mark, like Oscar Wilde and 18th Century drag queens. Politics was abundant: Section 28, the bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub, and the government’s response to the Aids Crisis were all discussed.

No trip to Soho would be complete without a visit to Soho Square, which, as ever, provides us all with a space which is at turns calm and suddenly vivid with celebration and resistance.

Most of all, the group loved spending time together, bonding and enjoying this inspiring, storied corner of London within the context of the ongoing fight for LGBTQ+ liberation. We wish you all a wonderful Pride!