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The u3a movement celebrates Pride

Published : 26 June 2023 Views: 2980

A view of a Pride march - many hands are holding up Pride flags.

June is Pride month, a celebration of the LGBT+ community and a recognition of the progress still to be made. The u3a movement is made up of 400,000 members, many of whom will be marking this month in their own way.

Wandsworth u3a member Maggie will be attending Pride in London. She says it’s especially poignant for older LGBT+ adults like herself who have lived through periods of incredible hostility.

She says, “I love Pride, I just love it. Back in the 50s and 60s, it was horrible. To see so many people feeling, well pride, about being LGBT+ is wonderful. A lot of people think that when we say pride, we mean being full of ourselves, but really pride just means the opposite of shame. That’s what I always felt growing up, I felt such deep shame. It’s about banishing that.”

Maggie has noticed a lack of representation of older LGBT+ people in the media. She says, “You don’t see older LGBT+ people often. You don’t see them in magazines. You don’t see it on any Twitter accounts. You never see the older – it’s always the young LGBT+ person. People don’t realise that there is an older queer community – that we do exist.”

Bristol u3a member Paul sits on the u3a Equality and Diversity committee which creates policy and supports u3as to encourage inclusion and diversity. He says, “As a gay man, I feel fairly strongly about it [equality and diversity] which is why I volunteered for the committee.

“I’m not very agile so in the past I have gone on Pride parades on the bus when there’s been a bus to go on. Whilst I have been an out gay man since the age of 16, I think my sexuality is about as interesting as the colour of my eyes. It should be of no concern to anyone else.”

Sam Mauger, CEO of the Third Age Trust which oversees the 1,000 u3as across the UK, says, “u3a are celebrating Pride month and the LGBT+ community, and raising awareness of the important part that older LGBT+ people have played in this journey." 

The u3a movement is made up of 1,000+ u3as across the UK where members come together to continue their interests and learn new things in an informal environment. The movement is open to anyone who has time to spare. Join u3a

Read more from Maggie and Paul about their experiences on our u3a blog, Sources.

If this article resonates with you, there is a list of organisations that support LGBT+ people on our Equality and Diversity pages.

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