pridephotoedit e1657122788211 900x600 - Happy Pride!

6 July 2022

We were delighted to attended London Pride this year! Some of our staff, including our LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group, represented YMCA St Paul’s Group at the celebration of queer identity and inclusion.  

We arrived early to avoid losing each other, meeting at Buckingham Palace and taking in a trooping of the colour before joining the myriad of rainbows with our own YMCA St Paul’s Group pride flag. As the crowd sang out Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer’, we settled ourselves on the path beside Green Park and waved our flag. It was a joyful moment for some and a healing one for others.  

The LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group felt it was important for YMCA St Paul’s Group to attend Pride. It’s too common a story that homophobia and transphobia are reasons that contribute to people becoming homeless. We as an organisation are proud to be a place of safety and healing from that. Key to that is ensuring that our staff are aware of the need to make our inclusive message clear for all to see. 

The Group has been working to empower staff to have conversations about LGBTQIA+ issues with our service users, young people and members seeking support.  One way of starting conversations about it with young people is to discuss the meaning behind the flags, which can prompt thoughts and questions. Another important area of support is mental health, especially as a disproportionate percentage of people who identify as LGBTQIA+ need support with their mental wellbeing. Taking opportunities to check in with queer friends and colleagues is a simple way to begin to improve the challenges faced.  

The flag will continue to be waved in the future and as an organisation that’s 177 years old YMCA St Paul’s Group is proud to grow, learn and champion inclusivity.