Guest editor Kimberly Hart-Simpson: 'Pride is for you'

Embracing Pride is a joyous and wholesome thing; and a huge milestone of acceptance and belonging for those in the LGBTQ+ community.

When I was asked by to take over editing the soaps section for a day in which Pride would be the focus, I didn’t even hesitate.

For everyone, Pride means different things and for me, it has meant a journey of finding myself and it’s a journey which is still ongoing.

Labels are fluid and Pride embraces the diversity of everyone who celebrates, no matter what stage they are at.

I can relate in a few different ways; I have been at different stages of my own identity over years, evolving as a person as I go. And, as with everyone, there is no full stop to this. Where I am now will not be where I am in five years. And with that, how I define and label myself will also change.

Whether you are able to attend events and parades or you mark it more intimately, or even if you haven’t come out or found yourself yet, Pride is for you.

There is much more to it than declaring labels – this is something I have found a particular challenge, which I will speak about in a piece as part of the project – it is about finding a place where you are comfortable to be and embracing it.

Support from others and a growing comfort in being open about my sexuality is what embodies Pride for me.

In the industry I work in, I am forced to put myself out there and expose all sides of my personality. At times, this can feel like there is ownership of my private life and identity.

For the most part, I am happy with this but sexuality is such a personal thing and, what I would want to achieve through editing for is the message that there is no pressure or rush to understand who you are or where you are at.

No matter where you decide your place is on the sexuality spectrum – and this is fluid; you may never define a spot – you are you.

Through reading the range of stories of those linked with the soap world, I hope that we can show how the differences are both vast and yet, at the core, we all hold the same values and pride in ourselves and every ally around us.

I am delighted that so many have shared stories with us from Coronation Street’s Jane Hazlegrove taking us through her 30 years of Pride and how it changed her life to Hollyoaks star Annie Wallace sharing the positivity of her transgender identity.

Casualty’s Arin Smethurst shares a piece on how their non-binary identity is reflected in the show and Emmerdale’s producer Kate Brooks discusses the show’s new storyline in which the older demographic is represented when a character over 70 comes out as gay to their daughter.

Alongside these stories and others, we have also sought opinions and first person accounts from fans, experts and columnists to make this a day in which everyone can find something.

Joshua Halm discusses the importance of representation in soaps and how LGBTQ+ characters can never be tokens, while Maisie Spackman tells us how a Coronation Street episode prompted her to come out as gay to her family.

And doesn’t that reflect Pride in its purest form? A notion that everyone has a place there which is right for them and, in celebration, the community comes together to try and ensure every single one of us feels validated and supported wherever we find ourselves?

There is much progress still to be made and many voices which still fear they won’t be heard; I hope that the growing openness of discussion, a snippet of which you will find here today, will help close that gap and inspire not just those celebrating this month, but those who will one day be able to celebrate in the future. celebrates 50 years of Pride

This year marks 50 years of Pride, so it seems only fitting that goes above and beyond in our ongoing LGBTQ+ support, through a wealth of content that not only celebrates all things Pride, but also share stories, take time to reflect and raises awareness for the community this Pride Month.

MORE: Find all of’s Pride coverage right here

And we’ve got some great names on board to help us, too. From a list of famous guest editors taking over the site for a week that includes Rob Rinder, Nicola Adams, Peter Tatchell, Kimberly Hart-Simpson, John Whaite, Anna Richardson and Dr Ranj, we’ll also have the likes Sir Ian McKellen and Drag Race stars The Vivienne, Lawrence Chaney and Tia Kofi offering their insights. 

During Pride Month, which runs from 1 – 30 June, will also be supporting Kyiv Pride, a Ukrainian charity forced to work harder than ever to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community during times of conflict. To find out more about their work, and what you can do to support them, click here.

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