28th June: a day to celebrate in many different ways.

Flag of the rainbow with the words "Pride Day" and the date 28th June

Celebrations related to the Pride Day claim a positive evaluation of diversity of sexual orientation and sexual identity. The history of these celebrations is well known. It is related to the social mobilization of LGBTIQ+ people in the late Sixties who proposed a crucial shift in LGBTIQ+ politics: from a plea for tolerance to a proud recognition of difference.

The Pride Day is celebrated all over the world although with different meanings. In Western countries with progressive legislation on sexual citizenship, the celebrations of the Pride Day have become a ritual event of happiness, socialization and powerful self-promotion. Here the LGBTIQ+ community enjoys its multiple achievements as well as its internal pluralism (in terms of cultures, lifestyles and political visions). It is not rare that internal divisions come to the surface, related for example to the intersection between sexuality, race, gender, and class. When it happens, the Pride Day faces critics of homonormativity and homonationalism where the recognition of LGBTIQ+ identities is combined with the reproduction of the privilege of the white-male-liberal-high class subjects.

In other Western countries with less progressive legislation, the LGBTIQ+ Pride Day is celebrated to claim social and institutional advancements for LGBTIQ+ people. Rallies and marches express the need to align the country to international (Western) standards of sexual citizenship. Here internal political divisions become less visible and the LGBTIQ+ community enjoys the Pride Day to represent its unity.

But the Pride Day is celebrated also in countries where the social conditions of LGBTIQ+ people are barely comparable with those of the most affluent countries. In these contexts, the celebration represents a moment of visibility not only for the LGBTIQ+ community but also for political forces that express hostility against it. Anti-LGBTIQ+ statements are often coupled with nationalism and political anger toward globalisation and international institutions. These are the cases where the LGBTIQ+ Pride Day preserves its original meaning.

Arqus is committed to equality, anti-discrimination, equal opportunities and diversity in the European Higher Education Area. Its Action Line 2, “Widening Access, Inclusion and Diversity”, combines a number of coordinated proposals and common goals with the aim of making a significant overall contribution to social justice and to an inclusive Higher Education Area in the future.

Luca Trappolin (University of Padua)