I WILL be proud to speak at Edinburgh Pride tomorrow. It’s a day when the streets of our capital city will come alive with thousands uniting in a sea of joy, colour and protest.

Pride events and Pride Month – which ends next week – mean so much for so many people. Making LGBTQIA+ identities visible now matters too, and Pride allows people to see themselves reflected in the society around them. These celebrations signal the future we want, a time and a space where everyone can just be themselves, surrounded by friends and allies and by compassion and love.

These are underused words in our politics. Compassion and love. But they are surely core to liberation and must be at the heart of any inclusive society. For they are things that can make all the difference and, even in the toughest circumstances, they can lift us as we overcome adversity and can make life worth living.

But Pride is and always will be a protest. The anger and rage that underpinned the Stonewall riots and the protests against Section 28 are still with us, and always will be until we have a society that treats people with dignity and respect regardless of who they are.

There is no shortage of reasons to be angry, and the burning sense of injustice and solidarity that has underpinned those movements is more vital than ever.

The culture war and the swamp of hatred that fuels it was already bubbling when we last took to the streets, but over the last 12 months, things have lurched backwards.

It wasn’t long ago that it seemed like there was an emerging consensus on some of the defining equality questions. Sometimes those days couldn’t feel further away.

We are now at a point when MPs and even the most senior UK Government ministers are more than happy to repeat and regurgitate some of the most disgraceful smears and slurs about our LGBTQIA+ communities and our trans siblings in particular.

Only this week, the UK Government has published proposals that would force teachers and schools to “out” trans pupils to their parents.

This hostility has consequences.

Whether it is the young people sitting unhappily in harsh and unforgiving classrooms and worried about expressing themselves, the teenagers that live in fear of their parents or playground bullies, the couples who are afraid to hold hands or display affection in a public place, this reaction has severe repercussions.

It is no coincidence that the moral panic that has been whipped up against trans people has coincided with an upsurge in hate crimes and anti-trans violence.

READ MORE: Edinburgh council 'admits' to being Labour-LibDem coalition

As in so many cases, what began with bad-faith rhetoric about “legitimate concerns” and “just asking questions” has morphed into the normalisation of prejudice as a small and vulnerable minority of people have seen their identities being turned into a spectacle for wealthy, powerful and reactionary voices to mock, goad and belittle.

I’ve experienced some of that viciousness just for standing up for trans rights. I know that when I tweet about trans rights, my mentions and timeline will ignite a virtual bin fire, to put it mildly. It doesn’t stop me.

But, as a white cisgender English-speaking woman with a platform, I know that the risks and the potential costs of speaking out are less than they are for many others. I also know the abuse that I get and the threats that I receive, while vile, do not compare to those received by trans people themselves.

Things could get worse in the months ahead. The forces that railed against Gender Recognition Reform and celebrated Westminster’s obstructionism have not gone away. And, with a conversion practice ban on the horizon (which we should not legitimise with the term “therapy”), they will soon be spreading the same kinds of ugly myths and bile.

There is no such thing as a non-coercive conversion practice and there never can be. It is torture and it is abuse. It always will be.

Nobody should be told that their existence is deviant or unnatural, or that they should be ashamed of who they are. Those are the politics of bigotry, hate and fear that gave us Section 28. They are not the politics of a progressive nation, and we will fight them every step of the way.

But for all the darkness in our politics, we must remember that there is much to celebrate and the vibrant, beautiful protest of days such as Pride and months like Pride Month are an important part of that celebration. Pride is a time to unite our struggles.

One of my heroes is Mark Ashton, a man whose life was immortalised in the film Pride. He founded a group for LGBTQ+ people to support striking miners. In his words: “Mining communities are being bullied like we are, being harassed by the police, just like we are.” One community should give solidarity to another, and Pride is a time when this happens.

It is a time to celebrate the spectrum of our humanity, from the young gay teenagers who feel isolated or alone to the protest veterans who have done so much to blaze the trail for liberation.

It is also for the many people who were erased, ignored, and murdered because of their identity. We can and must celebrate their legacies while acknowledging the decades of pain that have been so needlessly inflicted and aspire for better for this generation and future generations.

Every Pride event is someone’s first time. It can forge lifelong friendships and make people feel like part of a community in an increasingly oppressive world. In solidarity, joy, compassion, love and, yes, rage, I hope to see you on the streets tomorrow.