By Melissa Kasule
The LGBTQ+ community have taken over 1,000 digital billboards across the country for Pride, instead of taking to the streets this summer.
LGBTQ+ members from grassroots campaign Pride Inside have planned to share images of what Pride means to them this month and will be featured on the iconic Storm digital billboard site on Lambeth Palace Road.
Writer, performer and drag star Ginger Johnson organised the not-for-profit campaign in less than a month after Pride’s street parades were cancelled across the UK as result of the pandemic.
The drag queen is a resident MC at the UK’s biggest LGBTQ+ collective – Sink the Pink. They started off performing at small men’s clubs in Bethnal Green and quickly moved onto selling out the Brixton Academy.
Ginger has teamed up with more than 120 queer contributors and photographers to create images from their homes or local public spaces whilst socially distanced with the aim to represent the full diverse spectrum of the community.
They will also be joined by the lead singer of a Belfast queer punk band – together with her pet rat, an NHS nurse in South London and original members of the Gay Liberation Front.
Pride Inside hopes the campaign will inspire LGTBQ+ people across the UK to still go ahead with Pride celebrations at home.
Ginger Johnson said: “Usually we take to the streets for Pride. We take to stages, demos and dancefloors. We climb onboard floats or walk shoulder to shoulder with our families and friends but this summer that just isn’t possible. So it’s crucial that LGBTQ+ people from all walks of life are visible and proud in our public spaces even if we can’t be there together in person!”
“Pride is also a chance for our community to reach out to the people who haven’t found pride in their lives yet, who don’t feel safe, who are hidden. It’s our chance to say to them, ‘You are not alone, we are here and we are proud of you.’ Pride has always been an opportunity for us all to learn about each other – to honour our shared experiences, our differences and our collective resilience.
“It’s taken the combined efforts of a whole team of amazing queer people from all over the UK to get this project off the ground and we can’t wait to share it with everyone.”
Campaign photography co-ordinator, Corinne Cumming, added: “We’ve managed to source photographers and subjects from across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, throughout the UK and from many different ethnicities which is so exciting and unique.
“For LGBTQ+ photographers and their subjects to be able to choose how they want to be represented via their art on a national platform, that’s really special.”
Pride Inside has encouraged others to post their own images online under the #PrideInsideUK hashtag.
The campaign images will debut on digital billboards from Monday, June 15 for an ongoing two weeks.
A specially designed website will feature resources to allow people to learn more about Pride, those involved with Pride Inside and how they can engage with each other.
Visit prideinside.co.uk for more information.
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