Anna Richardson: 'I've had my heart broken – but I won't give up on Pride'

Recently Channel 4 ran a campaign called ‘Altogether Different’. It featured well known faces crammed inside tiny boxes, limbs bent double, hands pushing against the claustrophobic space, bodies bursting to be free.

Each and every one of us that took part is either a member of the LGBTQ+ community, has a hidden disability, is a person of colour, is a woman, or…or what?

Or has longed to be accepted, I decided.

Whether it’s carrying the shame of scars on the body, having parents who don’t conform to the norm, or navigating the changing landscape of our own identity, we all feel outside of the box that society has created for us. And that’s just me talking.

This is why I consider myself to be so fortunate to have been asked to guest edit Metro.co.uk’s Lifestyle section for the site’s Pride takeover. It’s a chance for us all to connect, to share, and to scream from your own personal rainbow float, Dua Lipa’s throaty command: ‘Don’t be afraid of your freedom!’

What gives us our freedom, is the name we give ourselves – our label.

When I sat with the lifestyle team in the Metro offices, labels became a hot topic.

Jess is a bisexual person with ADHD, who’s writing today about the unexpected benefits of being a U-Haul lesbian, as well as a piece exploring where on earth all the lesbian bars have gone.

Natalie is a woman of colour passionate about highlighting the layered experiences of LGBTQ+ people of colour.

Ellen is a bisexual white woman with OCD, whose focus is firmly on sharing stories around sex – how do we deal with the nerves of same-sex lovemaking for the very first time? It’s a question that all curious people ask themselves at some point or other – regardless of sexual identity.

It’s that curiosity in these pieces that helps us to connect and learn – to bond with our chosen tribe.

When I was asked the inevitable question of how I like to label myself – lesbian, bisexual, or straight up but with a twist – my answer was unequivocal. I don’t have a label. I’m just Anna. Not realising, of course, that our name is the most important label of all.

But if you’re interested, I’m a vicar’s daughter, with a queer family, who has loved both men and women, and would like to adopt as an LGBTQ+ parent.

I’ve had my heart broken, and my dreams shattered, but will never give up on hope. I’ve experienced the ignorance of others who don’t understand what it means to love in a different way. And like everyone else reading this issue, I want to live in a world where difference is not only tolerated – it’s welcomed.

It’s 50 years since the first official Gay Pride rally – attended by around 2,000 people demanding visibility, equality, and change. Thanks to those trailblazers who walked before us, it now attracts around 1.5 million people.

The LGBTQ+ family really is just that – a family. With big rainbow arms, ready to welcome you in.

Happy Pride 2022! Don’t be afraid of your freedom, however it looks.

Love, Anna x

Metro.co.uk celebrates 50 years of Pride

This year marks 50 years of Pride, so it seems only fitting that Metro.co.uk goes above and beyond in our ongoing LGBTQ+ support, through a wealth of content that not only celebrates all things Pride, but also share stories, take time to reflect and raises awareness for the community this Pride Month.

MORE: Find all of Metro.co.uk’s Pride coverage right here

And we’ve got some great names on board to help us, too. From a list of famous guest editors taking over the site for a week that includes Rob Rinder, Nicola Adams, Peter Tatchell, Kimberly Hart-Simpson, John Whaite, Anna Richardson and Dr Ranj, we’ll also have the likes Sir Ian McKellen and Drag Race stars The Vivienne, Lawrence Chaney and Tia Kofi offering their insights. 

During Pride Month, which runs from 1 – 30 June, Metro.co.uk will also be supporting Kyiv Pride, a Ukrainian charity forced to work harder than ever to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community during times of conflict. To find out more about their work, and what you can do to support them, click here.

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