As we start Malta Pride Month, we cannot but reflect on the year that ensued from Pride 2019.
We broke a new record in participation numbers, partnerships and events that led us to dream bigger for this year. We celebrated the country's 5th consecutive year ranking at the top of ILGAs equality index, a dedicated Ministry that works hard in maintaining it and a bid in its final stages to bring EuroPride in Malta in 2023.
Yet we cannot ignore that at the start of the year we had accounts of LGBTIQ people being thrown out of places of entertainment or worse ended with a fist in their face just for being themselves;
Trans people being harassed physically, verbally and online; a lack of compassion towards people of colour; an equality bill that keeps being delayed and a couple loved by many, murdered which could have been avoided if the wheels of justice functioned properly.
CoVID19 burst Malta's prosperity bubble and put a strain on everyone's mental and physical well-being , especially those who lost their means to make ends meet.
Minorities have suffered greatly from this pandemic;
Persons living with HIV have found themselves at risk of treatment shortages whilst further delaying the much needed upgraded treatment;
appointments for STI checks postponed;
the gender well being clinic halted;
situations of homelessness;
artists put out of work;
sex workers further placed in vulnerable situations;
women's choice to healthcare from overseas stripped away;
intended parents stuck in limbo;
and a great deal of loneliness.
Cancelling the Pride March and the gatherings that come along with pride week may seem trivial for many who don't belong to the LGBTIQ community or have never attended Pride.
It is that one time in the year where we feel less isolated and more connected.
More appreciative of the diversity by which we are all surrounded with and a moment where we seek that much affirmation and love from others that eventually become our families of choice.
This year Pride will be less performative but more symbolic. We invite public buildings and businesses to hoist pride flags and display pride colours, donate to LGBTIQ organisations to keep doing their work, collaborate with them to create more sensibility, use your socials to share your message of pride. Each of these acts will make a person who thinks they are unloved feel less isolated and seen.
We end this message by thanking Malta's frontliners who have been putting themselves at risk from day one, from healthcare professionals, the police and armed forces, to cashiers, delivery persons and service staff.
May the rainbow colours that we see during this month be a reminder that better days are ahead of us, only if we are a little bit kinder with one another, we celebrate our differences, and put more unity in humanity.