Happy Pride month to everyone at Carnival UK both on land and at sea.

It’s been an incredibly busy start to June with the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, Cunard’s full fleet returning to service as Queen Victoria set sail, and the beginning of Pride season.

This year marks 50 years since the first pride in London where in 1972 2,000 people took to the streets for the first time to march for ‘gay rights’.

At Carnival UK we’re focused on DE&I (diversity, equity and inclusion) year-round and although we mark June’s Pride Month, we celebrate our Pride in August as both Cunard and P&O Cruises continue their long standing partnership as headline sponsors to Southampton Pride, being held this year on 27 August.

Why is Pride still so important?

As part of Pride Month, I want to take an opportunity to share with you why Pride is still so important to me even after 50 years of progress.

Progress is the key word; whilst so much has been achieved, there is a vast increase in transphobia, and continued persecution of LGBTQ+ people across the world  –  71 countries criminalise private, consensual, same-sex sexual activity, of which 11 could impose the death penalty.

Closer to home, within the UK and Southampton, racism and hate crime is on the rise within the LGBTQ+ community; a very personal one for me as four close friends have been victim to homophobic attacks within the last six months.

Throughout June and beyond, many organisations, including P&O Cruises and Cunard, turn their logos rainbow coloured or raise the pride flag – you’ll see ours flying outside Carnival House. Whilst some could be questioned and maybe don’t land their marketing quite right (known as ‘rainbow washing’) on the whole this is a huge signal of solidarity and support. The raised visibility and awareness in local communities and countries around the world spotlights the inequalities LGBTQ+ people face and that this is not okay.

Hopefully from reading the first part of the article you’ll understand why Pride is still important, however ‘going rainbow’ isn’t enough.

Whilst a signal of strength and community, this alone doesn’t create equality; it’s the actions that organisations make within the community that are vital, something which I’m so proud of with Carnival UK. Keeping things close to home, where our roots lie, we continue to not just sponsor, but partner with Southampton Pride so they can grow, build their platform and voice to ensure LGBTQ+ priorities get noticed and they’re able to drive change within our head office home city.

Year on year progress continues to be made, but there’s still such a long way to go. Without ongoing awareness, support, action and change, equality for LGBTQ+ people will never be achieved. And that’s why pride is still so important.

Find out more about Spectrum here and learn how we help drive positive change at Carnival UK. You can also join the Spectrum Facebook group here.  

If you’d like to join our Pride squad, taking part in the city-centre parade or helping out on the P&O Cruises and Cunard Pride stand during the day, email Spectrum to register your interest. 

If you’d like to be an active member of Spectrum, we’re looking for colleagues to support Carnival House events, share news and updates on our Facebook page and write articles for The Insider to drive awareness of LGBT+ issues and to celebrate LGBT+ events and people. If you’d like to get involved, email Spectrum

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