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Thursday, May 30, 2024

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Pride Month Series: Ian Montgomery from Postive East

To celebrate pride month, throughout June we will be asking “What does Pride mean to you?” We’ve spoken to people from across our vibrant scene and community.

Today we spoke to Ian Montgomery from Positive East.

Positive East has been at the forefront of HIV service and care for three decades; supporting people from point of HIV diagnosis to longer-term care.

Guided by their mission – to improve the quality of life of individuals and communities affected by HIV – Positive East has developed a holistic range of health and wellbeing programmes from counselling to workshops to HIV testing and prevention.

Here’s what he had to say:

GLL: What does Pride mean to you?

I: Embracing and celebrating my community and who I am.

GLL: Tell us about your first Pride experience, what & where was it?

I: My first Pride would have been Sacramento Pride many many years ago held in Southside Park. It had a true community vibe with community stalls in abundance where you could learn about and get involved with various movements and groups.

GLL: What is your favourite part of Pride?

I: My favourite part of Pride is a very romantic/idealistic one. I would like to think that during this time we are united, and all feel a sense of large-scale collective activism. That we share a common goal and feel unstoppable. That we are participating in a global takeover – that fuels our conquest for equality.

GLL: Do you have a favourite Pride memory?

I: That would be in 2016, which was the first Pride that I marched with Positive East. I had been a spectator at countless Prides, but that was the first time I was able to march in support of a cause (and charity) I feel deeply passionate about and involved in.  It was incredible to see hundreds of thousands of people read our signs and hear our chants in support of the HIV movement.  I was proud to be there amongst my friends and colleagues.

GLL: Why do you think Pride is still important?

I: Pride will always be important as, unfortunately, we’re constantly reminded that the moment we take our foot off the pedal and become complacent, hatred replaces the void once filled by our actions and pulls us backwards.   Also, until all LGBTQ+ people everywhere no longer have to defend their right to exist, and every transphobe becomes enlightened and apologises for their actions, then in my opinion, the notion, spirit and activities of Pride will be needed.

Positive East’s HIV/STI testing is back up and running offering free, fast and confidential HIV/STI testing across east London. Visit https://www.positiveeast.org.uk/hivtest/ to book your appointment today!

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