'A truly unique experience' as #DMUglobal joins New York Pride

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students took to the streets for Pride in New York, the birthplace of the famous international parade.

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Celebrating #DMUpride and LGBT rights in the Big Apple, students spent time volunteering within the local community and as part of the event organisation for the New York Pride Rally, before finally joining the iconic Fifth Avenue march.

As part of the university’s pioneering international experience programme #DMUglobal, the trip was designed to develop students’ understanding of the origins of social and political movements, as well as skills to meet the needs of employers in a diverse international employment market.

One student who flew over to the US was Tashmar Smith, a first year on DMU’s Contour Fashion BA who said: "This trip has been an amazing learning experience for me, very eye opening and I am really grateful for the opportunity to explore and learn about the LGBT community."

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During the trip, students volunteered at SAGE, a centre in New York that supports older LGBT communities, one of the largest and oldest organisations of its kind in the US.

Students also visited the Greenwich Village area, known for its historic involvement with LGBT rights and the famous Stonewall Inn, recently declared the first national LGBT monument by Barack Obama.

Joshua Hemmings-Townson, a first year Film Studies student said: "To participate in one of the largest Pride festivals in the world has been a truly unique experience.

“Also having the chance to engage with local New Yorkers and volunteer at SAGE, a charity for LGBT elders allowed me to learn about the challenges and issues they face here in the USA."

More than 350 charities and community organisations took part in the parade, which ended with a colourful and exciting celebration in Greenwich Village.

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Now celebrated across the world, Pride is responsible for the advancement of LGBT issues. New York's incredible history with Pride began in 1970, to commemorate the Stonewall riots in 1969, when the LGBT community fought back against the oppression faced at the hands of the police and society.

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Every June LGBT people and their supporters have taken to the streets of New York City to bring to life the voices of the LGBT community and the issues they are facing.

By the year 2000 the Pride march in Vermont celebrated the first Civil Union, by 2011 New York had legalised gay marriage, and for the first time LGBT couples were married and could join the march as legal spouses.

Passionate about celebrating the diversity within its students and staff, DMU holds an annual month-long campaign for the LGBT community, #DMUpride.

Posted on Wednesday 29th June 2016

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