So, it’s June and it’s Pride Month (in case you hadn’t seen the explosion of rainbows already!)
A time to celebrate equality and to reflect on all the inspirational people, over the years, who have fought for LGBTQ voices to be heard and for ‘human rights’ to mean exactly what it says on the tin. Many of them sacrificing their lives in the process. It’s a time to remember how far we have come, but also to look to the future and what we can do to make things better, happier and more equal for everybody.
I wanted to take some time today to tell you about why we chose the Pride Festival Box as one of our first Experience Boxes and why our box will be available all year round… after all, equality is something to celebrate every single day isn’t it?
As some of you may know, I have two amazing children (not biased at all!) who I am extremely proud of and remarkably close to. My 16-year-old daughter, Erin, my absolute inspiration, 'came out' at the age of 14.
Sat in the kitchen together, listening to music as we always do, she blurted out ‘you’ve probably guessed by now, but I am gay’, followed by a stream of sobbing and tears, she asked me if I hated her.
My heart broke. Of course I didn’t hate her, I could never hate her... and most certainly not for her sexuality!
I was just so happy that she had ‘come out’ and was free to be herself without having to hold back... however, a little while later, a gay friend of mine confided in me about his fear of being seen holding hands with his boyfriend in public, how he always looks around twice before accepting a kiss from the man he loves. It was also just around the time that a lesbian couple had been brutally attacked on public transport because they refused to kiss each other for the entertainment of some utter scumbags.
As a mother, and a human being, my heart sank, and I realised that being gay was not all rainbows. Anxiety ate a huge hole inside my stomach, I felt sick. I was so worried for my daughter, her safety and what her life would be if she felt she needed to hide in the shadows.
Not long after Erin had announced that she was a lesbian, I had friends and associates asking me if "Erin has a boyfriend yet?" I answered, nonchalantly, "No, Erin likes girls but she doesn't have a girlfriend yet". To my shock and disbelief, I was often met with the reply "Oh well, it might be just a phase" or "Oh my goodness, are you ok?"
Did I miss something?
It was pretty difficult not to get angry and emotional about the reaction I had received from these narrow-minded adults, all of which were people that I had rated pretty highly prior to this point! I had had a taste of what it was like to have to have to defend sexuality and it was bitter AF. A real eye opener.
So, anyways, fast forward to this year, lockdown brought its variety of traumatic experiences, which made me realise that life is far too short and, whilst I’m here, I should live it to the fullest… exactly the way I want to.
I decided to pack in my (relatively well-paid) full-time job and come and work with my big sister who had set up elebubble during lockdown. I knew then that my first project was going to be Pride-related... I mean, the whole tone of the business and what we are trying to achieve, is to help people to make memories and enjoy celebrating with their ‘bubble’. What better thing to celebrate than who you are! So, whilst we will continue to create Holiday and other Festival Experience boxes, this will always be the box that means the most to me.
Our first team project was the ‘Pride Festival Box’ which launched last week. I am incredibly excited and immensely proud to have helped create something which means so much to me and those that I love. I hope that it is used to celebrate equality all year round and that everybody who buys a box, gets to take away the happiest of memories and the courage to stand up and say, ‘this is me and I’m proud to be who I am’.
To everybody reading this, thank you for taking the time to listen to my story, I hope this has encouraged you to be who you are, be brave, just like Erin.
Lot of Love, Lauren