As a gay man of nearly 50 years old, I have been fortunate enough to experience some of the most amazing Gay Pride celebrations around the world. I have marched in the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, celebrated Pride in LA, San Francisco, Madison and of course London.
I love Gay Pride. It’s the one day of the year when our diverse, beautiful and wonderful community marches (and party) together; a day on which our community can collectively stand tall and say “Look at us!“
It always blows me away to see the sheer number of people marching together in unity: gays, lesbians, transgender and bisexual people, and all our loyal supporters, leaving our troubles behind to celebrate our accomplishments.
Now, more than ever, the LGBT community has so much to celebrate, especially in the UK now that equal marriage is a reality and the same progress is being made in leaps and bounds in the US. Sadly, this is not the case for many of our LGBT brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. I’m thinking in particular of the transgender members of our community, who still struggle for basic acceptance and understanding, and also those of us who live in countries where being LGBT is a punishable offence. So as always, our battle is not over. Our work is not done.
However, we must not stand back or be complacent. The first Pride event — which was small compared to the scale on which we celebrate today — took place with only a few hundred people protesting in the streets of New York, in 1970… and look where we are today… proving that a small ambition can be a springboard for much bigger things to come. This has certainly been my experience with HotSaltBeef.
Last year, I watched the London Pride celebrations from a restaurant overlooking Trafalgar Square, drinking champagne with friends, enjoying the festivities, not knowing what the year ahead would bring. Soon after, I started to think about the idea (call it a dream if you want) of developing an online networking site for the Jewish LGBT community, called HotSaltBeef. This idea soon turned into an all-consuming ‘hobby’ — something I had great aspirations for.
Almost a year later, since its launch in April 2014, I have been humbled (if not somewhat overwhelmed) by the support, encouragement and welcome reception HotSaltBeef received from the Jewish LGBT community. And even though HotSaltBeef is still in its infant shoes, it is fast developing into something I never imagined it would be.
On the eve of this year’s London Pride Week, HotSaltBeef not only went live with our own online magazine, HotSaltBeef&Mustard, but we also announced our collaboration with Jewish News, the UK’s biggest Jewish newspaper, giving this endeavour the potential to connect the global Jewish LGBT community in a way nothing else has done before.
This year, I will once again join the crowds in the streets of London, with very good reason to be proud, because I will celebrate as Mr HotSaltBeef! (wearing a HotSaltBeef t-shirt, no less!).
So, my wish for every single member of the LGBT community is to dare to dream BIG and to be agents of change who carry on fighting for global equality. We are the change we are looking for.
I’ll be out in my HotSaltBeef t-shirt. Come say hello. I’d love to meet you.
Happy Pride 2014!