This year we’re celebrating Pride at Edelman by shining a spotlight on our LGBTQIA+ colleagues: their stories, experiences and reflections on what it means to be queer today.

Name: Aneesa Kaleem

Pro-nouns: she/her

Sexual Orientation: Lesbian

What does Pride mean for you in 2023?

Like many in our community, I’ve felt othered for being queer, a Muslim, British Pakistani, a woman. So, I now get a sense of pride every time my queerness comes up and it doesn’t raise an eyebrow. We’re not all the way there, but the small everyday wins have become really meaningful to me. The current media discussion around trans visibility and rights speaks to the need for Pride to continue to be an act of defiance alongside a celebration of how far we’ve come. As a community, we should continue to stand together and stay engaged to affect tangible progress.

What is the biggest barrier your community is currently facing? How can people share their support and allyship to help, not just during Pride month?

I think we need to continue to make space for the often-overlooked members of our community who exist at the crossroads of identity. Intersectional voices have been hugely influential historically in our community’s journey towards acceptance and we can’t let combined experiences fall to the wayside now. I would encourage allies and members of the LGBTQIA+ community alike to seek out intersectional LGBTQIA+ voices this Pride. There’s a great series of talks going on at The Common Press book shop in Shoreditch including a discussion around LGBTQIA+ migrant rights, one around food, culture and marginalisation, one around queer joy, and another around LGBTQ+ culture and neurodivergence among others.

Who is your LGBTQIA+ role model and why? What can we learn from them?

I will always have a personal attachment to Tan France as the first British Pakistani queer person I saw in media. It’s really meaningful to continue to create opportunities for diverse identities as feeling seen has been a huge part of accepting myself and feeling proud to be a part of the community.