'Pride and LGBTQ+ rights must be worldwide': A 12-year-old's view
Melissa from north London
- Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA
After celebrating Pride Month, it is important to reflect and understand the suffering that got us to this stage of awareness in society.
For centuries, being part of the LGBTQ+ community was looked upon with the disdain and disgust. Less than seventy years ago a remarkable man, Alan Turing, committed suicide because of horrifying treatment he received because of his sexuality.
The father of computers, and the new face of our fifty pound note, was driven to suicide after being placed in conversion therapy instead of prison, stripping him of his dignity and natural self. He is a painful reminder of the prejudices that the LGBTQ+ community suffer.
Although we have come a long way from those archaic days, there is still a long path to tread. Today, children are being taught to accept people for who they truly are. More often than not, certainly in Britain, you can now convey your sexuality liberally without having to worry about the consequences that might come because of the actions of a homophobic individual.
Although we are lucky to be able to talk about our sexuality freely, we have to understand and remember that not everyone has the freedom to talk about their sexuality.
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Unfortunately 69 different countries around the world (BBC data) have criminalised the LGBTQ+ community for simply being the way that they are. These people are abused and often fear for their lives.
Being LGBTQ+ is not something that we can alter about ourselves; it cannot be switched on and off. We have put a man on the moon, but approximately 35% of countries cannot advance and accept people for their natural sexuality.
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The Pride colours must ignite the flames of acceptance to spread across the world, not just for the month of June, but for every month of the year.
Melissa is a 12-year-old north London student.