PRIDE - celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community

Date of publication
13 June 2024

During Pride month, HMCPSI Inspector Leanne Townsend shares her thoughts and experiences celebrating Pride – professionally and personally.

This year is the 20th anniversary of the first Pride event I attended.  It was also the 19th Pride event that had been held in Manchester and back then, it was called Mardi Gras.  I had at that time only recently started my coming out journey and I was very new to what Pride meant.

It was an amazing experience and so wonderful to be surrounded by people from the LGBTQIA+ community and those who support them.  There was a brilliant camaraderie, and so many colours and spectacular outfits everywhere!  It was held in Manchester’s Gay Village which is a collection cafes, bars, clubs, and other venues that provide services to all, with a particular focus on the gay community.  I’ve been to at least 10 more Pride events in Manchester, and several others across the UK, as well as Sydney Mardi Gras, since 2004.

This year I will be walking in the Nottingham Pride parade with the Law Society, as I did last year.  Our participation was organised with the help of the Alliance Network.  It was a privilege to be able to represent the legal profession at Pride and to demonstrate that the profession values its LGBTQIA+ members and the community itself.

Pride isn’t just an event though, it’s a celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community.  It’s also a way for that community, and its many, many allies, to show support, raise awareness, and provide education on issues affecting LGBTQIA+ people.  Even now, there are still prejudices towards the community around the world and whilst we have come a long way since the late 1960s when the Stonewall riots took place, there is still a long way to go.

Employers can help us along the road ahead by supporting their LGBTQIA+ staff and acknowledging the issues they face.  Equality and diversity training is usually a must for organisations especially in the Civil Service and that can help to raise awareness and educate colleagues.

Fostering an inclusive, open, and safe working environment will also help LGBTQIA+ colleagues be their best at work as will encouraging them to be themselves rather than hiding who they are.  Celebrating the successes of those colleagues, and successes in relation to LGBTQIA+ issues is equally crucial to empowerment and progress.  Engaging with LGBTQIA+ service users can also promote confidence in an organisation.  Stonewall has some more helpful tips for promoting LGBT inclusion in the workplace, via this link: Top 10 tips for LGBT inclusion in the workplace (

I’ve found that staff networks are particularly beneficial and I am lucky to have access to them in HMCPSI.

I’m a member of the LGBT network which sends out information, resources, and details of events to anyone who is interested.  Some networks also run virtual and in person social events both to build relationships between colleagues.

For those who don’t have an internal staff network, the Alliance Network is available in the Midlands and is definitely worth checking out.  It’s through them that I was able to take part in Pride last year, and myself and a colleague also recorded a podcast on homophobic and transphobic hate crime.  That was only made possible through the networking that Pride promoted.

I wish everyone a happy Pride month and encourage those who can to attend a Pride event!