HOMA Year 2 trainees and tutors at the Pride London Parade 2023
As part of the Homa Year 2 Social Justice programme, all the trainees and tutors had the option to march at Pride London at the end of the Sex, Sexuality and Gender module.
During group time there were conversations about what it means to be a part of the Pride parade and whether there is a place for straight people to walk alongside LGBTQIA+ communities. Each trainee chose whether to attend Pride as a spectator or as part of the parade, under the banner of Therapists Walking the Walk.
The Therapists Walking the Walk group is an unincorporated association, created by Homa. The aim of the association is to create space, events and opportunities for qualified and trainee psychotherapists and counsellors to engage with LGBTQIA+ communities and issues, to ensure safer, more equitable and effective practice for all their clients.
Neil Young (Course Tutor)
"Pride was a fitting final day for a term at HOMA spent exploring personal and cultural understandings of sex, sexuality and gender. As a guest tutor on the module – and a queer femme man who came out over 30 years ago – I had a wonderful day with the students, feeling the love from the huge crowds who had gathered to celebrate queer people in London and across the globe. Right now, us lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA+) folk are experiencing renewed hatred and violence, inflamed by Government and media-led ‘culture wars’ targeting trans people. Against this backdrop, Pride was a day to escape into the joy of connection and for our trainees to experience being part of a majority queer cultural space, many of them for the first time."
Homa’s aim is to train psychotherapists who are in an ongoing process of becoming safe hands for all their clients, including people of diverse genders, sexualities, identities, relationships, lifestyles and practices. The work done in year 2 is the beginning of this process, culminating in our participation at PRIDE. And we acknowledge that there is more to be done towards achieving our aim, both on an individual level for us all; trainees and tutors and at an organisational level as a training institution.
Roberta Musillo (Course Tutor)
"Being part of the first HOMA Pride London this summer 2023 was an honour and a moving experience. As a tutor on the HOMA Psychotherapy Training and as a humanistic psychotherapist I was proud to lead our trainees on an experience of the most joyful celebration of diversity and human connection"
Members of the Year 2 tutor team attended the Pride Parade alongside the trainees. From left to right in the photograph above: Neil Young, Sophie Boss, Roberta Musillo, Trupti Magecha and Audrey Boss.
Trupti Magecha (Guest Tutor)
"I was excited to be invited to join Homa at Pride, given I am a new tutor on the team. While I was pleased to have delivered a seminar exploring systemic racism as part of the Homa team I had been worried that my presence may have felt awkward given the many challenging conversations we had as a group during our work. I need not have worried: it was an inspiring, wonderful celebration of inclusion on multiple levels, giving me the opportunity to connect more deeply with myself and others through the journey. I am delighted that my first experience of Pride was with Homa and I felt joy and ‘pride’ to be standing in this group of brave and inspiring people committed to social justice (I’m the photographer too so had a particular perspective of being able to observe while also being a part of a group - a position of particular perspective I love that affords me the duality of connection and space) Same time, same place, next year? "
The huge support we received from the crowd was moving, encouraging and joyful! We walked and danced down Picadilly to shouts from the crowd of "We love therapists", "Everyone needs therapy", "Therapists saved my life!" and "Go therapists!"
Vikki (Year 2 Trainee)
" What an absolute honour and pure joy it was as a trainee therapist Walking the Walk with Homa London at Pride 2023, showing openness, respect, equality and freedom and the diversity of being human. The air and streets were paved with such vibrancy and tangible electric love of the celebration of the LGBTQ+ communities. I had physical shivers of the reality and impact of oppression as a participant ran across and thanked us as therapists for saving their life. From then on I marched with deeper passion, dedication and commitment, full of pride to be a trainee therapist who opens her arms widely to all of humanity. My heart soared personally as I knew instantly my calling to become a therapist was deeply rooted in equality, equity and pure love work".
Dom (Year 2 Trainee)
"I was very conflicted about whether to join the parade with Homa or watch as a supporter. My resistance to joining the parade itself was due to the fact that Pride has not been a significant part of my life in the past. Until joining Homa, I would not have considered myself to be 'part' of the queer community, and I noticed some unease about the possibility of me 'taking up space' in the parade at the expense of others who may have more 'skin in the game' than me (as I perceived it).
I know I wasn't alone in having these feelings and, being honest, had all my course peers joined the parade then I would have felt comfortable doing it too.
However, when a course friend said he'd prefer not to join the parade for his own personal reasons – and asked if I would like to join him as a spectator – I immediately felt relief: I could support my friend and support Pride from afar as opposed to taking part in the parade itself. This really suited me and I had a wonderful experience as a result. I loved witnessing the parade itself, but I also got huge value, drinking in the atmosphere with all the other incredibly happy and energetic supporters. It was a very moving, humbling and inspiring experience, and I wouldn't change it for the world. Despite not taking part in the parade itself, I feel I was still very much 'walking the walk'.
Looking ahead to Pride 2024, I really hope Homa offers me the opportunity of taking part in the parade once more as I'd be very keen to accept and would feel very comfortable walking with them – and everyone else – as a true supporter."
Stacey (Year 2 Trainee)
"I had the best day ever, it was such fun and can’t wait to do it again. It was an utterly fascinating and eye opening few hours which showed me that in society we can come as we are and be who we want to be."
Nick (Year 2 Trainee)
“What an incredibly joyous occasion - probably one of the most joyous I have ever attended! There is nothing so powerful as being confronted by the human-ness of a different community, to see the celebration of their uniqueness and the desire to just be fully accepted as themselves; to unbind long standing prejudices baked in to me from an early age. I was unsure whether to attend. I’m so pleased I did.”
Wendy (Year 2 Trainee)
"I found attending Pride such an extraordinary experience. It was a privilege being a trainee psychotherapist to be part of the parade, witnessing the LGBTQIA+ communities expressing themselves and celebrating their identities. I came away feeling so much joy and love".