June is Pride Month, a month to celebrate gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and asexual people, plus all other sexual orientations and genders.
To coincide with this, we have caught up with Louisa Shapton, a member the Apollo 7 Explorer Scout Unit, who attended her first Pride event earlier this year.
On May 4th, 17-year-old Louisa along with 12 explorers, leaders and support members attended Swansea Pride.
Carrying the ScoutsCymru banner through the parade before manning a stall at Swansea’s Waterfront Museum, Louisa decided to take to the surrounding crowd distributing leaflets and talking to people about the difference Scouting has made to her life.
Here Louisa reflects on the event and ScoutsCymru’s inclusive approach. She said: “I took a lot from attending Pride Swansea this year.
“I didn’t know what to expect and was a bit nervous as I am an ally and felt that I may not fit in. I was soon proved wrong. It was a festival of acceptance.
“As a member of Glamorgan West Inclusive Scouting Team, I believe that having Scouting representation at the event showed people in the community that we, as an organisation are inclusive, and we don’t discriminate.
“I think it is really important for young people to learn about the LGBT community. Attending an event such as Pride shows how sexuality and gender identity is very normal in today’s society. At Explorer age in particular, being part of or an ally of the community can be challenging and the Pride Event showed how supportive and accepting the LGBT community is.
“The whole day was so full of energy and bursting with colour. I think the other Explorers, some of whom are openly gay, really enjoyed and it was great to experience my first pride event with them.”
Scouts Cymru were joined by other large organisations such as the NHS and various political parties who all attended to celebrate and support the LGBT community.
Louisa believes that ScoutsCymru attending Swansea Pride was important for her peers as she says: “It was somewhere that everyone could really be themselves and not worry or care about being judged.”
Louisa is confident that next year there will be an even larger group of Scouts attending to celebrate the LGBT community.
ScoutsCymru is open to all young people and adults regardless of their sexuality or gender identity. We have a clear Equal Opportunities Policy and attend Pride events to demonstrate our commitment to equality. We openly welcome LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) members, have volunteers specialising in diversity (including our national team of Specialist Advisers) and even a national unit supporting LGBT adults in Scouting FLAGS.Members of ScoutsCymru will also be at Llanelli Pride and Pride Cymru later this year.