Blog: What Pride means to me

By Heather Liveston, PACT Senior Social Worker and LGBTQ+ Champion

As Pride month 2024 comes to an end, I find myself reflecting on the role that Pride, the event, and pride, the feeling, have played in my life over the years, as an LGBTQ+ person.

I first went to Pride in my 20s – London and Brighton. I remember the music (Ultra Nate’s ‘Free’ was the anthem), the sunshine, the long queues for the loos, but most of all I think of the thrill of being visible, of giving a message of “we’re here, we’re queerand how important this was in building my confidence and resilience. The more time I spent around other LGBTQ+ people, the easier I found it to be ‘out’ in different situations – at work and with family and friends.

In 2007 I took my son to Pride for the first time at age one. I’d love to say that Pride became a regular feature in our lives as a family but, when my children were younger, other child-centred activities tended to get in the way. Now that they are older, there is no way they would be seen out with their two mums at Pride (or anywhere else for that matter)!

We were lucky to go to ‘Magical Pride’, as it was known then, at Disneyland Paris for a couple of years running. I remember hearing a homophobic protest in the background but again, it was lovely to meet other LGBTQ+ people, including adopters. The phrase “strength in numbers” comes to mind.

I have a sense of pride in being a two-mum family. There have been challenges along the way and small victories. Our children have generally had good experiences in school, but their ‘one mum and only mums’ approach to Mother’s Day (this happened every year in different but equally unacceptable forms) we saw as discriminatory, not only to us as a family, but to all the other families who did not fit their image of a family, including children in care. We challenged this every year and finally achieved a change that I am proud of. I am also proud of having had some influence on BBC children’s programming and in particular the inclusion of two mum and two dad families. There has been progress over the years in how we are presented in the media yet there is still a long way to go.

Fast forward to now, I look forward to being involved in PACT’s LGBTQ+ information evening later this week, and to joining Grace, PACT’s Diversity Recruitment Officer, at Brighton Pride in August to talk to people about adoption. PACT will be at Reading, Oxford and Brighton Prides this year as well as Black Pride. If you are considering applying to adopt, or if you just want to learn more about adoption, please do come and say hello!