15 June 2020
The world has drastically changed in 2020, from a global pandemic, everyone having to stay home and not seeing friends or family as well as marches on racism and fighting injustices – things have definitely changed. However, in this new world, Action on Hearing Loss, one of the largest charities in the UK supporting people living with deafness, hearing loss and tinnitus is proud to be continuing to champion equality and inclusivity and supporting PRIDE 2020.
Many people who are deaf or have hearing Loss will also be LGBTQ+ as over twelve million people across the UK have some form of hearing loss. Last year the charity took part in the London march, helping to represent this community in the parade and showing support. Although the charity may not be marching this year, due to its cancellation following the coronavirus pandemic, Action on Hearing Loss will be supporting the #YouMeUsWe campaign online which is calling on each of us to reach out and understand one another, demanding us to be better allies within our communities.
Freelance journalist and blogger, Liam O’Dell, who is living with hearing loss, marched with Action on Hearing Loss during Pride London last year and is supporting them again this year. The march had a profound effect on him, coming out to friends as asexual following his experiences.
“At London Pride last year, we were met with so much love and acceptance from the crowd. Those watching sign their applause back to us and ‘Happy Pride’ in British Sign Language (BSL). Seeing a whole crowd of people doing the jazz hands applause – at least, that’s what I like to call it – is a memory I shall cherish forever.
A few hours later, I was still buzzing from the atmosphere. It was an environment so safe and welcoming that in the evening of the same day of the march, I came out to friends as asexual, after months of questioning my sexual identity.
So on a personal level, Pride was incredibly important, but it’s also essential for the deaf community to be seen at these events too. The representation of disabled LGBTQ+ people – including those with hearing Loss – is so vital as a minority group, and I’m delighted I was able to help with that by marching with Action on Hearing Loss. Whilst we can’t march this year I will still be showing my support this year.”
Mark Atkinson, Chief Executive at Action on Hearing Loss said:
“Although we may not be marching this year, now more than ever, we cannot lose sight of how important it is to support and celebrate this incredible community. We want to show support to these members of our community and show that we are here to support everyone regardless of age, race, sexual orientation or disability. As a progressive charity championing diversity, equality and inclusion, we also believe this is an important moment to stand with a positive social movement to publicly show what we stand for as a charity. We aspire to be an organisation that truly lives our values, putting our people at the heart of everything that we do.”
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Notes to editors
Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID) is the national charity helping people living with deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss to live the life they choose. Action on Hearing Loss enables them to take control of their lives and remove the barriers in their way, giving people support and care, developing technology and treatments, and campaigning for equality.