Sunday, 26 June 2016

A Contrast of Prides

Yesterday I went to London Pride. I came back tired and happy, and planning to write this post. Then this morning I read a post from B.A. Brock. Please read his blog. I think the contrast is really telling. This is my third Pride. I went years ago with my girlfriend, her sister and my friend. Walking in the parade was the first time I was comfortable holding my girlfriend's hand in public. Bear in mind I was forty before I acknowledged openly that I wasn't straight, so Pride has a special place in my heart.

I spent yesterday in Trafalgar Square in London with the lovely JL Merrow. I came back from Pride tired, sun-baked but happy, as I'd spent the day surrounded by people where I didn't have to filter who I am. That was the message for 2016 London Pride. #nofilter.




I know Pride has the reputation for scantily clad young guys, but in London they'd probably freeze their nuts off. Oh dear, Sue, you're showing your age. I can't talk about that side of Pride but let me talk about it from a dumpy middle-aged bisexual's point of view. In the queue to get in, we met Matt. That's what I love about queues. You get to talk to really interesting people. We talked about our writing, London theatre and had a laugh about the Bible 'enthusiasts'. Matt wanted to blow glitter in their faces, which was a lot politer than our desire to harangue them with Bible verses.

We got in early, found a bench and a glass of wine, and watched the opening number from the stage show, Kinky Boots. The opening entertainment was much better than last year. After we'd been slowly cooked in the sun we wandered around the square. Were there stalls last year? Anyway, more wine, more entertainment, and sunbathing, and people watching. I loved seeing the confidence people had together. I loved rainbows and people dressed up, especially the guy in seventies gear and the gold shoes.

Then it was time to see the parade - kind of. The joys of being a short-arse is I only saw the heads of a few people and the buses/floats. But we got to cheer everyone. The kid playing disinterestedly with his DS on the bus made me and Jamie laugh. There were a huge number of banners for Orlando. I was pleased that a Christian group got huge cheers, as did a trans group (I mention this specifically), and the police/emergency services. I was surrounded by same-sex couples happy to kiss and cuddle in public.

The last thing we did (and yes it was very middle age/middle class of us) was get out of the sun by popping in the National Gallery for a cream tea. Yum!! I was facing the window, and I could see a reflection of two policemen. I'd just said to Jamie that it must be a boring job, having to stand in one place all day, then a young man bounced up (literally) and kissed one of them. It made my day.

I know the Pride celebrations carried on all night. Matt, wherever you are, I hope you had a great time!

I didn't take any photos because my phone is being a total arse with the battery. But I'm sure you'd like to see these tweets. This is what my Pride is about.



  

This was my Pride. Relaxing, joy, people having fun. Proposals, cheering and sore feet. I wasn't there long. I'm not and never have been a party animal, but I had an afternoon of fun. The predicted rain and thunderstorms held off although there was a dramatic clap of thunder as I walked back across the bridge to Waterloo station. I grinned as a shriek rose from the crowd I'd just left.

This morning I read this post on B.A. Brock's blog, IT’S PRIDE! HUMANS WELCOME (Down for transitioning gender, be back soon), an anonymous guest post talking about Pride and being transgender in a community that doesn’t always embrace the “T” in LGBTQ+. I asked B.A. if I could link it here.
It felt like there was some unspoken rule that if you are transitioning you need to stay in your closet and don’t come out until we can’t tell you apart. I also didn’t pass for a lesbian (or dyke either). Read the rest here.
I don't want to speak for the blogger, so please go and read this blog. Yes, I'm 'old', but there were plenty of people like me at Pride, men and women of all ages. As a trans group walked passed in the parade everyone was cheering. I never thought to question how individual trans people were treated. It was a wake-up call for this cis female. 




4 comments:

  1. Great post Sue, I'm so glad you enjoyed Pride. Dermot and I went to our first ever Pride yesterday and had the most wonderful day too. The only discordant note in the parade was a group of transgender 'youngsters' (remember, I'm more or less your age) wearing all black and carrying signs saying 'stop killing us'. I guess we still have a long ways to go.

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    1. We have a very long way to go with trans equality. It's like being back in the sixties again with their attitudes.

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    2. I hit send too soon. I mean society's attitudes.

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  2. That sounds like a wonderful day. :)

    I read the post by B A Brock's guest yesterday and it was heartbreaking. I have no idea how to make it better. Being alone in a crowd where everyone is enjoying themselves in happy company is horrible, but far worse when one can't see anywhere one could fit in. I hope that person's pride experience is better next year.

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