Pride month will definitely feel different this month. Everything feels different this month. This year in fact. We’ve seen recently how much there’s still a whole spectrum of change needed for widespread acceptance, for togetherness and equality – for LGBTQIA, for BIPOC – now more than ever we all need to unite.
My journey at Bloom and Blossom began with me in the final preparations of getting married to my wife just over 3 years ago – in fact, Julia rang me the day I was travelling up north for my wedding offer me the job (which I obviously gladly accepted).
Wedding planning at the best of times is complicated, fun, exciting, and generally about how many plates you can keep spinning at once. But I often felt there was an additional emotional plate constantly spinning – I always had to be ready for the inevitable question …‘how did he propose’ (there is no 'he'. I did.).
[Sidenote - you don’t just come out once – you have to come out every single day, to every single person you meet.]
As well as many other questions you have to have an answer for ready and waiting in your armour of replies, all the while never knowing how that other person is going to react certainly takes away some of that excitement.
At my first interview with Julia and Christina, one standout memory for me is when we started to talk about my upcoming wedding and Christina asked more about my partner. I’ll let you read that again and I would urge you to continue using this word regardless of who you are talking to – partner. What may seem like a very insignificant noun to many, instantly put me at ease, made me feel accepted and made me feel like I could talk about this exciting phase of my life with absolute comfort and openness. And I knew from that point I was joining a very welcome family.
Not everyone is afforded this luxury. Some people still cannot be who they are in the workplace, some people cannot be themselves at home, with their family, or even walking down the street (I’ll add that this is the case here in the UK still). Some countries still class my lifestyle as an illegal offence and a certain leader (of the free world) is doing his best to take away our rights.
Fast-forward three years and we are now a little family of three. My wife and I welcomed Margot 18 months ago and like any other family we’ve been adjusting to the lack of sleep, the disruption but also the pure JOY that a new life can bring. However, as a same-sex family, it also comes with a whole set of new questions that need carefully plotted answers ready to go – ‘who’s the real dad?’ would earn me a top points in a Family Fortunes round of ‘same-sex family FAQs’. Just so you know, there is no dad – our daughter has two mums (and a donor). Don’t even get me started on the amount of times we’re asked if we’re sisters – even at the birth of our daughter.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is – Pride should be a celebration, yes, but it all started with a riot, and that riot was Stonewall which paved the way for change, change that was much needed. It resulted in the gay liberation movement – voices were heard and without that, my family wouldn’t exist as it does today. However, we’re not quite there yet. There’s still a fundamental change in education that needs to happen, not just in the LGBTQIA world but as we know for Black people too - and let’s not forget the contribution BAME gave to the LGBTQ+ community and the Stonewall riots. Which is what makes PRIDE even more relevant this year – Pride is a celebration but it’s also a call to arms for our voices to be heard, now more than ever – Marsha P Johnson put it perfectly when she said there’s ‘no Pride for some of us without liberation for all of us’. It’s about visibility, it’s about equality. Personally, more than anything, I just want to feel normal. And ‘normal’ today doesn’t look like me. Even more so as the family of three we are today.
However, I am proud that at Bloom and Blossom not only do I personally have a voice but we’re here as a business to celebrate ALL families - we’re here to share our platform and our voice with you, not just for one week or one month – 365 days a year.