Last year, I went to Pride for the first time. Unfortunately, my first event was Pride In London, which I have since denounced as a result of the TERF infiltration in 2018. Another reason it’s been avoided by me is the lack of accessibility partnered with busy crowds (making access harder, but also inducing anxiety).
I managed to attend a good few prides last year, even if for short periods of time due to health or other factors; I attended London; Liverpool; Leeds; Manchester; Reading.
Upon attending these, I discovered that I much prefer the smaller celebrations – before last weekend’s disgraceful behaviour towards the LGBT+ community, I never would have ruled out the idea of attending celebrations in grand queer hotspots such as Brighton, but smaller ones were much better in my eyes.
On the note of last weekend, I want to take a moment to talk about Brighton’s disgraces this year. The brutalities faced by LGBT+ people, especially marginalised groups within this, were a disgrace and I am truly shocked to hear about what happened. It makes me so sad because I truly do build an identity from my abundant gayness (along with other things such as being a disabled person) and it makes you feel invalid in just a beat of the heart. It also says a lot about this country, because Brighton really is a hotspot; I remember seeing my first (known) drag queen walking in the street in Brighton, and feeling radiant over the pride I saw, long long before I was close to realisation of my own identity. To read more about Brighton Pride’s failings of 2019, my friend spoke to PinkNews in this article.
Pride is a celebration of love beyond the heteronormative walls built up, and that needs to be focused on; not capitalism; not a party; not a concert. Love trumps hate.
So, this year i’ll be writing about my pride experiences. I’ve already attended Oxford Pride, back in June, but coming up I’ve got a few still and want to report how they were for the feeling, the accessibility, and making pride what it needs to be.
Today, in fact, is Surrey’s first ever pride! I’ve followed the making of this celebration on social media since the birth of the idea, and my heart is so warm having seen it grow. They’ve focused majorly on accessibility and affordability, as well as creating county-wide measures to stop and report hate crimes. This means a lot to me as my experiences since moving to a town on the Surrey/Hampshire border haven’t been the best when you consider political views and subsequent homophobia, even in passive cases.
I also have Reading Pride at the end of the month. This pride means a lot to me as I attended it as my first pride with my beautiful partner last year. On this day I got to meet lots of her family for the first time, too, which was so so lovely. The celebrations are definitely extremely sentimental to me, and Reading Pride has been a highlight of the calendar in my books for months.
I also would love to clarify that Reading Pride, all in all, manage to smash the pride game out of the park! The celebrations take place on a field, which is flat so relatively accessible, aside the risk posed by natural components. It has a wide range of stalls, significantly noted to be non-profits, as well as support from pride-based businesses. MyUmbrella is also a company run by Reading Pride.
I’m proud of who I am every day of the year.