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Queer Nation
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Queer Nation: a digital platform celebrating 50 years of Pride

Gareth Pugh and Carson McColl’s interactive platform invites LGBTQ+ people to submit short videos on what Pride means to them

To celebrate 50 years of Pride, Gareth Pugh and Carson McColl have launched a digital platform that invites LGBTQ+ people from across the UK and Ireland to submit short videos, responding to the question: “What does Pride mean to you?”

Built around a map of the UK and Ireland, the virtual space – called Queer Nation – will be made up of a constellation of geo-tagged markers, each corresponding to the short videos.

“Pride 2020 provided us with a unique challenge: how can we help to instil a sense of community and togetherness at a time where being together isn’t possible?” said Pugh. “With that in mind, we decided to try and leverage our networks to create what will hopefully become a living record of Queer Culture in the UK and Ireland in 2020. At heart it's about reaffirming that while we may all be on our own right now, as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, you are never alone.”

A collaboration with digital artist Jon Emmony, among others, video submissions (so far) come from the likes of Munroe Bergdorf, Ib Kamara, Graham Norton, and legendary activist Peter Tatchell. There’s also representatives from LGBTQ+ UK grassroots organisations, such as Hidayah, the Time for Inclusive Education Campaign, Voices4LDN, and The 343 Belfast.

“Pride 2020 is a celebration of life, culture, and human rights. We’ve made huge positive gains but there’s still work to be done,” said Tatchell in his video, adding: “My Pride 2020 aims are mandatory LGBTQ+ inclusive education in every school; end the Home Office detention of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers; compensate gay and bisexual men convicted under homophobic laws; ban gay cure conversion therapy; and solidarity with Black Lives Matter.”

“Pride for me is a reminder that even when times are difficult, we have each other. It’s the idea of how strong our community is, how far our community has come, and where we need to go as well,” said Bergdorf in her clip. “Talking about revolution, talking about solidarity with people who aren’t like us, intersections of race, gender, and sexuality. I think it’s a real chance to take stock of where we are and where we’re going.”

The launch coincides with the release of Pugh and McColl’s feature-length documentary, Soul of a Movement: Four Days in June, which explores the beginnings of the queer liberation movement in 1969 and the LGBTQ+ pioneers carrying the revolutionary torch in the UK today.

Embarking on a tour of the UK to meet with activists, artists, and allies in the community, figures ranging from performer Carrie Stacks to leader of the Scottish National Party, Nicola Sturgeon, discuss how they define the LGBTQ+ movement in 2020.

Asking the question, “50 years on from Stonewall, what lies at the soul of our movement?”, the film aims to open conversations surrounding queer issues in society today.

“We wanted it to feel raw and radical and not only focused on headline issues such as trans rights and inclusive education, but also subjects that aren’t being so widely covered such as queer homelessness, queer nationalism, and xenophobia, and the erasure of queer and trans people of colour at the hands of white gay culture,” said McColl.

Queer Nation is open to submissions from all – check it out hereSoul of a Movement: Four Days in June is available online now. Watch it below.